Fever, chills, aching muscles, fatigue and sore throat are just some of the symptoms that you may experience if you are caught with the flu, usually between the months of January and February.
The treatment? Rest for three to five and ride it out, but it’s not always that simple, as some people can develop very serious conditions, like pneumonia, which can lead to death. These risks are higher for the vulnerable in the community, including seniors, young children, pregnant women and people with medical conditions.
To prevent the risk of getting influenza, doctors recommend getting the flu shot. “It’s important to get the flu shot because it’s the best way to protect you and your family from influenza and it’s complications,” says Richard Mether, a resident physican at KFL&A Health Unit.
The vaccine takes about 14 days to kick in, so doctors recommend taking it before peak flu season hits in January. Vaccines can be accessed at over 50 different pharmacies the Kingston and surrounding areas, but you have to be over five years old. Kids under that age bracket need to see their family doctor, as decided by the Ministry of Health.
There is also a new vaccine that was released this year for people over 65. The health unit recommends that seniors to speak to their family doctor and see if they’re eligible.
This year, there are two forms of the influenza virus that are being predicted, H1N1 and H3N2. In the past, the flu vaccine has proven to be about 40 to 50 per cent successful. As for this year?
“It’s hard to say if the vaccine will be more effective this year than last year,” Mether said. “So we need to wait a few months and see how the vaccine is working to be able to say if its more effective or not.”
The National Advisory Committee on Immunization will be evaluating this flu season’s vaccine results. Those details will be released early next year.