"Getting your flu shot is the most effective way to protect yourself and others", said Annie Berthiaume, Clinical Services Manager with Public Health Sudbury & Districts.
At least 16 people have died so far this year as health authorities embark on a "robust nationwide influenza vaccination drive" to protect the population against the flu virus. The flu vaccine provides protection against the strains of flu that are likely to circulate this year, and which may be different from last year. However, should high dose vaccine be unavailable, seniors are strongly encouraged to receive another influenza vaccine product to protect against influenza.
Health experts also recommend frequent hand washing, covering coughs and sneezes, staying home when sick and spread the word about the importance of these steps.
Symptoms may include rapid onset of illness with fever, cough, sore throat, headache and/or muscle aches. Most people will recover from influenza infection within a week to 10 days, but some are at greater risk of developing more severe complications such as pneumonia. Children are "super spreaders", but the vaccination not only protects them but also more vulnerable members of the community, such as the elderly or those with health conditions, from a potentially frightful illness. Some children can get a very high fever, sometimes without the usual flu symptoms, and may need to go to hospital for treatment.
The influenza vaccine is available at local pharmacies, health care providers' offices, and by appointment at Public Health Sudbury & Districts.