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GET YOUR FLU SHOT, NOT THE FLU

- Even More Options for People to Get a Flu Shot, as More Local Pharmacies Offering Vaccine This Year -

There is no reason to be caught without a free flu shot this year, as there are even more options for local residents who want to be vaccinated this influenza season.

The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit will be offering community flu shot clinics across Northumberland County, City of Kawartha Lakes and Haliburton County, starting on October 30 in Cobourg and Lindsay and running throughout November. The Health Unit clinics are open to everyone six months of age and older, including children, teenagers, adults and seniors. People attending a Health Unit clinic are asked to bring their Ontario health card.

In addition, 33 pharmacies across the Health Unit's area have been approved by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to offer flu shots in this area for anyone over the age of five years. A complete list of approved pharmacies is available at www.hkpr.on.ca. The number of local pharmacies offering flu shots this year marks a significant increase over 2012, the first year pharmacists were allowed to provide flu shots in Ontario.

“There are many opportunities for local residents to get the flu vaccine in order to be protected from influenza,” says Linda McCarey, Director of Communicable Disease Control with the HKPR District Health Unit. “Flu vaccine is safe and very effective. By getting an annual flu shot, you are helping to reduce your risk of getting sick from influenza, and protecting your loved ones in the process.”

McCarey notes that with many health care providers and Family Health Teams in the region providing flu shots as well, it has never been so easy to be vaccinated against the flu.

Influenza, or flu, is a preventable, but serious respiratory illness caused by a virus. It is typically spread from an infected person through coughing and sneezing. People who get influenza can have a stuffy nose, fatigue, sore throat, cough, fever, headache or muscle weakness. The illness usually lasts five to 10 days, but can be more serious for “high-risk individuals,” McCarey adds.

“Young children, older adults and individuals with compromised immune systems can develop more serious complications from influenza that can be severe enough to land them in hospital,” she adds.

Each year, the World Health Organization determines the three most likely flu virus strains that will be circulating in the upcoming flu season. The vaccine is then manufactured to protect against these strains. “Because the flu vaccine contains particles of inactivated – or dead – flu virus, you cannot get influenza from the flu shot,” McCarey says. “In fact, the flu shot works to strengthen your immune system against the three strains of the flu virus.”

People can find out more information about influenza, flu shots and upcoming vaccination clinics offered in this area by calling the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577 or visiting www.hkpr.on.ca.

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For media inquiries, contact:

Linda McCarey, Director, Communicable Disease Control, HKPR District Health Unit, (905) 885-9100, or 1-866-888-4577.

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