Flu Shot Facts and Information
People often do not realize how serious influenza is, they believe it is just the stomach flu, or a head cold, but it is much more than that. Flu symptoms can lead to pneumonia, hospitalization, and in serious cases it can even lead to death.
The Difference Between Influenza and a Cold
Flu symptoms often include some or all of these symptoms: fever, chills, cough/chest discomfort, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, fatigue, and some people experience vomiting and diarrhea. These symptoms will usually come on suddenly.
Cold symptoms often include these symptoms: runny or stuffy nose, sore throat, cough, congestion, slight body aches, mild headaches, sneezing, very low fever, and generally feeling unwell. These cold symptoms usually come on gradually.
For more information: https://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/flu-cold-symptoms#2
Protection Against Influenza
The flu vaccine is the best way that you can protect yourself and your kids against getting the flu. The flu shot is available all over Saskatoon, and it is free! You can get the flu shot at Lifebridge Health Centre through our walk-in clinic, or by an appointment with a doctor. You can also receive this flu shot at the pharmacy next door, Pharmacy First. Most medical clinics and pharmacies will have the flu shot available. The Saskatchewan Health Authority also has many flu shot clinics throughout Saskatoon, click on this link to see their dates and clinic locations https://www.saskhealthauthority.ca/Services-Locations/flu/Pages/Clinic-Locations.aspx.
The flu vaccine protects you against the flu because when it is injected it causes antibodies to develop in the body. These antibodies are developed through the viruses in the vaccine and will fight against the influenza virus if you are exposed to it after you have received the vaccine. It takes about two weeks for these antibodies to form and provide the protection required to fight off the infection.
It is recommended that anyone 6 months or age and older should get a flu vaccine every year. Children that are between 6 months and 8 years old require two flu shots for the first time receiving a flu shot. For more information: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/children.htm
Flu Shot Effectiveness
The flu shot changes every season due to the influenza virus changing every year. Every year, experts decide what viruses they will include in the influenza vaccine many months in advance of the flu season. Since there are many factors that go into choosing the viruses to include, there is always a chance that the vaccine may not be a good match to the virus that is circulating that year.
The flu vaccine cannot give you the flu, but there are other side effects that you may get when you receive the flu vaccine. You may experience soreness, redness, or swelling where you received the shot. You may also experience a low-grade fever or aches. After receiving the flu shot it is always recommended to wait 15 minutes before leaving the clinic in case any symptoms occur right after the injection.