Roll up your sleeve to beat the flu
(NC) Influenza (the flu) afflicts millions of Canadians every year. Up to 20,000 cases are serious enough to end up in the hospital and up to 8,000 Canadians can die in a given year from the flu and its complications.
November is Lung Month, a great time to roll up your sleeve and get the annual flu shot, still the best defence against the fever, chills, cough, headache and aching muscles inflicted by this seasonal virus.
The simple vaccine has been found to be effective in preventing the flu by activating the immune system to develop protection against the viruses.
Canada's National Advisory Committee on Immunization says that every Canadian should get the flu shot, but especially those at high risk of flu-related complications including:
• Anyone with a weakened immune system or suffering from a chronic health condition such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), heart disease, diabetes and cancer;
• Anyone 65 or over and all children aged six to 59 months;
• Healthy pregnant women;
• Residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.
Pneumococcal infection is the most common complication of seasonal flu and can lead to serious illnesses such as pneumonia and meningitis. Medical guidelines recommend at least one pneumococcal vaccination for at-risk individuals, possibly repeated in five to 10 years.
The Ontario Lung Association Lung Health Information Line has Certified Respiratory Educators standing by to answer your questions about immunization against influenza and pneumococcal infection, as well as other lung health issues. Phone 1-888-344-LUNG (5864) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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