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ROLL UP YOUR SLEEVE

 - ‘Get Your Flu Shot, Not the Flu,’ Health Unit Urges, as Annual Flu Vaccination Campaign Kicks Off This Fall -

With influenza season on the horizon, local residents are being encouraged to get a free flu shot and avoid the potential costs of not receiving one.

Getting an annual flu shot is one of the most effective ways that people can protect themselves and their loved ones from influenza, according to the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit. Although the flu vaccine is not 100 per cent effective, a Health Unit staff member notes that the vaccine still prevents many illnesses, hospitalizations and deaths due to influenza every year.

“Flu vaccine is safe and very effective,” says Linda McCarey, Director of Communicable Disease Control with the HKPR District Health Unit. “People who get the flu shot are less likely to get influenza than someone who does not get vaccinated. And even if you get the flu after receiving the flu shot, your illness will be milder.”

In 2014, there are even more options for local residents to get their flu shot. In total this year, 40 pharmacies across the City of Kawartha Lakes, Haliburton County and Northumberland County – the most ever – have been approved by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to provide flu shots in this area for anyone over the age of five years.

The Health Unit is also offering community flu shot clinics across the City of Kawartha Lakes, Northumberland County and Haliburton County starting on November 1. These clinics are open to everyone six months of age and older. People are asked to bring their Ontario health card to any of the following Health Unit clinics. A full list of Health Unit flu shot clinics are available by clicking here.

With many health care providers and Family Health Teams in the region also providing flu shots, McCarey notes: “It has never been so easy to be vaccinated against the flu. Invest the time to get the flu shot for you and your family because it will pay off in the end.”

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 result in them being hospitalized,” she adds. “That is why it is so important that everyone roll up their sleeve to get the flu shot.”

To find out more about influenza, flu shots and upcoming vaccination clinics offered in this area, people can call the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577 or visit 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,
or Shawn Woods, Manager, Communicable Disease Control, HKPR District Health Unit, (905) 885-9100, or 1-866-888-4577.

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