October 20, 2018 7:30 am
Updated: October 20, 2018 7:31 am

‘Boost your immune system’: pharmacist tips for not getting sick this flu season

WATCH: Pharmacist Hans Epp talks about the common misconception people have over the flu shot.

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A Winnipeg pharmacist is urging everyone to protect themselves during the flu season.

“Nearly 55,000 influenza cases were reported last year, which nearly doubled from the year before,” Pharmacist Hans Epp said.

“It was a particular harsh year. The last couple of years have had a very virulent flu virus which is H3N2,” added Epp.

There are some simple solutions to avoid getting the flu.

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“Do the best you can to boost your immune system which includes sleeping well, eating well and drinking lots of fluids. Wash your hands on a regular basis and most importantly, getting your flu shot,” said Epp.

READ MORE: Manitoba hopes to avoid record-breaking flu outbreak this season

There have been a number of critics when it comes getting the flu shot, but Epp said it is worth it.

“The biggest misconception is that people say you can get the flu from the shot. We know physically and chemically it isn’t possible. The shot isn’t active and it isn’t infectious. It does take a couple weeks to be fully effective. Getting it earlier is better.”

“It’s not 100 per cent effective — some people do get the flu even though they got the shot. Last year, we have data that says it helped about 65 per cent of the cases,” added Epp.

WATCH: Doctors say 2018 flu vaccine is more effective than last year’s

Common symptoms of the flu:

  • high fever
  • cough
  • muscle aches
  • headache
  • chills
  • fatigue
  • loss of appetite
  • sore throat

READ MORE: Scientists inch closer to universal flu vaccine as virus wreaks havoc on North America

He said during the flu season, it’s important to think more than just about yourself.

“Some people may not get seriously sick from the flu, although people are more susceptible to getting it more seriously, like pregnant people, seniors, young children and those with chronic conditions,” said Epp.

“We can be carriers of the flu. In order to protect them, we need to first and foremost protect ourselves,” he added.

Flu shots are available to all residents of Manitoba free of charge. You can find a list of flu clinics here.

You can also get a flu shot at a public health office, nursing station, doctor’s office, pharmacy or ACCESS Centre.

WATCH: Preparing for the flu season

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