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Every year, flu affects millions of Canadians. For most people who catch the ‘flu (influenza), it is a nasty respiratory infection that keeps them in bed, off work and unable to join in activities for 7 to 10 days. For others, such as young children, older people and those with certain health conditions, flu is a potentially life-threatening illness. Every year, up to 10% of Canadian adults and 30% of Canadian children will contract flu. 

Flu is highly contagious and can spread quickly, so the best way to protect yourself is to get vaccinated every year. This flu season (2016-17), the Public Health Agency of Canada recommends the use of the Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine (LAIV) to immunise you against the prevalent strains of flu A and B viruses. (1) 

Who needs a flu shot? 

Vaccination against flu is recommended for everyone aged over 6 months, especially older people, pregnant women, those working within the health sector and those with chronic health conditions including health disorders, diabetes, and cancer. For those aged 65 or over, an inactivated trivalent influenza high-dose vaccine has shown to be particularly effective. 

How can I get vaccinated? 

The good news is you don’t need to visit a physician or a hospital to get the ‘flu jab’. At AMG London, our in-house Rexall pharmacy can give you your flu shot, and your children their flu vaccination too (providing they are over the age of five). It’s quick, easy and will help keep your family healthier this winter. Just call us at AMG London for more details or call the Rexall pharmacy here direct on 519-679-9921

When should I get vaccinated against flu? 

Now! Flu vaccine takes approximately two weeks to protect you; so the sooner you get your flu shot, the better. At AMG London Rexall, there is no waiting list or appointment necessary. You will need to complete and sign a flu shot consent form, which you can download here: https://www.rexall.ca/uploads/assets/rexall-flushot-consent-form.pdf

How long will a flu vaccination take? 

You can come for your flu shot anytime during opening hours, which are 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. When you come to AMG London Rexall, you’ll be asked to complete a flu shot consent form. You can save time by downloading and completing this in advance (see link above), and taking it with you. When the pharmacist has checked your details and medical history, they will administer the vaccine. You should allow fifteen minutes after your injection to sit in our reception or have a coffee at the Apple a Day bistro, just in case you have any adverse reactions. (A reaction to the vaccine is very rare indeed, and your pharmacist is fully prepared to handle any adverse reactions.) 

Why do I need a flu jab every year? 

Flu is not a single virus but several strains, and the strains change from year to year. So, last year’s vaccine may not be effective against this year’s flu viruses, especially new strains. Flu is also highly contagious, so if you live with or work with someone who is developing or has flu symptoms, you will be at risk of catching it too. People with flu are contagious a day before developing symptoms and for at least five days afterwards. Will I need one flu shot or two? You will normally only require one flu shot per season. Children under the age of nine who have never received the flu vaccine will require two doses, four weeks apart. You cannot catch flu as a result of a flu vaccination jab. 

Will I need to pay for my flu shot? 

If you qualify within a provincial health care plan, there is no charge to receive a flu shot. What are the symptoms of flu? Flu often starts as a high fever, shivering and chills, and develops into a sore throat and cough. You may also experience a headache, tiredness, loss of appetite and in some cases, feel sick. Most people recover from flu within a week to 10 days, but those at risk should be aware of other complications, including pneumonia. 

How can I prevent spreading flu? 

If you do get flu, don’t go to work. Flu is highly contagious and by ‘soldiering on’ and going into work, you are placing all your colleagues at risk. Always cover your nose and mouth when coughing, use tissues when sneezing and dispose of used tissues into a sealed bin. Wash your hands regularly, and wipe over surfaces you have touched with an antibacterial wipe, such as faucets and door handles. You might also like to carry an antibacterial hand gel to clean your hands when soap and water are not available – your Rexall pharmacy will have small bottles of this in stock. 

Egg allergies and flu vaccine 

If you are allergic to eggs, make sure you tell your doctor or pharmacist when booking a flu vaccination. This is because the live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) has not been studied in relation to egg allergy. Your physician or pharmacist will usually offer trivalent inactivated influenza vaccine (TIV) and quadrivalent inactivated influenza vaccine (QIV) instead. 

Any more questions? 

Call in and talk to our Rexall pharmacists. They will be happy to answer any questions you may have concerning flu vaccinations or any other winter health issues you may wish to discuss.

(1) https://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/naci-ccni/flu-2016-grippe-eng.php#t1 

(2) https://www.rexall.ca/services/flu-shot/flu-faq

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