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Flu shots free for all Nova Scotians

October 16, 2013

Dear editor:

Flu season is approaching! The 2013-14 season is coming and it is important for Canadians to be prepared. Last year’s flu season saw over 31,000 cases of Canadians getting the flu. Even if you received the flu shot last year, it is important to get immunized again this year.

Influenza is a constantly changing, highly contagious virus. Each year there is a new vaccine with changes made to keep up to the virus. Receiving the shot each year will greatly reduce your risk of getting the flu. This year, Nova Scotia has increased the call to get vaccinated against the flu by expanding who can administer flu shots. Pharmacists as well as doctors and nurses are providing flu shots this season.

During the first few days after getting the flu vaccine, there may be soreness at the site of injection. You may also notice some mild flu-like symptoms, such as fever, fatigue and muscle aches occurring during the first six to 12 hours after the shot. The vaccine cannot give you the flu because it does not contain any live virus.

Symptoms of influenza start with a headache, chills and cough. These are soon followed by fever, loss of appetite, muscle aches and fatigue, running nose, sneezing, watery eyes, and throat irritation.

Even if you get the flu shot, take steps to prevent the spread of germs. Washing hands regularly and coughing and sneezing into your arm rather than into your hands will help stop the spread of germs. These measures will help to protect you and others around you.

Influenza lowers the body’s ability to fight off other infections. This can lead to more serious illnesses, such as pneumonia, bronchitis and other complications. It is important to get vaccinated and to work to prevent the spread of germs to ensure that you and those around you stay healthy this flu season.

Please visit www.doctorsNS.com for information on where to get vaccinated in Nova Scotia.


Mike Fleming, BSc, MD, CCFP, FCFP