Start 2020 in Good Health: Get your Flu shot

Posted on Monday December 23, 2019

Durham Region – The flu season is here and is expected to peak in early January 2020. There is still time for Durham Region residents to get the annual influenza (flu) vaccine and prevent the spread of the virus.

The flu is a lung infection that is typically associated with cough, high fever, headaches and muscle pain. Sometimes it can lead to serious complications such as pneumonia, a heart attack and stroke.

People tend to get sick with the flu in the winter when they spend more time indoors in close contact with others. Anyone can get sick from influenza. Some people may recover from symptoms on their own after a few days. Other people including frail older adults, the very young and people with chronic conditions, who are susceptible to complications from the flu, can become seriously ill and even die after contracting influenza.

The flu vaccine is the easiest and most effective way to prevent illness. The flu shot is very safe with the most common side effect being soreness at the site of the injection. The influenza vaccine cannot give you the flu.

The benefits of the vaccine are clear. The flu shot:

  • Is safe for individuals six months of age and older, including pregnant women and nursing mothers;
  • Reduces hospital visits, serious complications such as a heart attack or stroke and influenza-related death;
  • Is free and easily available at physicians’ offices, clinics, public health units, pharmacies and in some workplaces.

“The flu shot is the best tool we have to protect ourselves from getting influenza this season and avoid a visit to the emergency department or hospitalization,” said Dr. Dan Ricciuto, Chief and Medical Director, Infection Prevention and Control, Lakeridge Health. “Getting your flu shot helps prevent you or someone you love from getting very ill or dying from the flu.”

If people are at risk of complications from the flu, it is best to visit their family physician, an urgent care centre or a walk-in clinic. Unless people are very sick, it is often best to avoid the emergency department.  

For a list of urgent care and walk-in clinics and information about when people should go to the emergency department or a community health care provider, visit Emergency and Urgent Care Options.

Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000 can also help people determine the most appropriate care option. For more flu facts, view this informative video series: Flu Facts with Dr. Dan

About Lakeridge Health  

Lakeridge Health is Durham Region’s acute health care provider. With five hospitals, four emergency departments, a residential treatment centre and more than a dozen community health care locations. Lakeridge Health is dedicated to providing the highest standard of care and best experience for patients and their families. Lakeridge Health is home to several regional specialty centres, including the R.S. McLaughlin Durham Regional Cancer Centre, Pinewood Centre for addictions and mental health and The Shoulder Centre.   

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For more information, please contact: 

Sharon Navarro
Lakeridge Health Strategic Communications
T. 905-435-7889
snavarro@lh.ca