Most people have noticed the seasonal rise in sniffles and colds. Flu season is upon us, and it’s essential for everyone of all ages to take precautions against it.
Every year, the fall season marks the beginning of an increase in cases of the flu. While this increase happens at the same time as an increase in colds, the two are actually different. While colds can have any range of symptoms from congested sinuses, coughs, and sore throats, the flu has all these, as well as fever, body aches and pains, and general weakness.
Both cold and flu are caused by viruses getting into the body, but the flu is linked to one particular virus. This virus is more dangerous than the common cold but also easier to vaccinate against.
The Flu Shot
Flu vaccines are designed to train the body’s immune system against the virus without causing the illness itself. They are designed to contain a less dangerous version of the flu so that your body can develop the right antibodies before it encounters the real one. While getting the vaccine can cause a mild reaction, it offers greatly improved immunity to the virus all season.
Annual Flu Vaccines
Every flu season poses a new threat. The virus has a special ability to mutate and change very quickly, meaning that while the Southern Hemisphere is experiencing their flu season, the virus itself will change enough that our previous defences – both natural and vaccines – won’t be as effective against it anymore.
Scientists and medical professionals are continually working to predict how the virus will change so that they can produce vaccines against it that help to give people immunity. By getting vaccinated every year, your body is given a head start in defending itself.
Flu vaccines are easy to get, with widely offered flu clinics, and are available at your local Medicentres clinics and family doctor’s offices. The process is simple, only takes a few minutes, and is available to everyone.
Risks of Flu Season
Even for healthy people, getting vaccinated is crucial to ensure protection against the worst flu symptoms this fall and winter, but the importance of vaccinations goes so much deeper than that.
The flu is an annoyance to most but, each year, hundreds of Canadians die from it. Many of these people are very young, very old, or especially vulnerable to the flu. The more people that get vaccinated against the flu, the better these vulnerable people will be protected. Flu vaccines cut down on flu symptoms and sick days for you, but, more importantly, could be life-saving measures that protect your loved ones and those around you.
Avoiding Colds and the Flu
While vaccines are one of our most powerful defences against the flu, there are many other steps that people can take to avoid getting sick. While things like sanitizing, washing hands, and covering your cough are important all year, they are even more significant during cold and flu season. Cut down on the transmission of germs by ensuring that you are covering your coughs and sneezes and are properly cleaning your hands and commonly-used surfaces in the workplace, at school, and at home.
No one enjoys being sick, and our busy schedules rarely have the room accommodate sick days. While the occasional cold can be hard to avoid entirely, there are many tools available to keep you, your family, and your community safe from the flu. Ask your healthcare providers today about the flu vaccine and how you can stay safe from the flu this year so you can remain symptom-free all season.