Getting your flu shot is the most effective way to protect yourself against the flu and flu-related complications
In Canada, the flu shot is recommended for everyone six months of age and older. If you are living with a lung disease like asthma, it’s especially important that you’re vaccinated against influenza, because people with health conditions are at high risk of complications from the flu. An influenza infection in the lungs can trigger asthma attacks and a worsening of asthma symptoms, which can also lead to pneumonia and other acute respiratory diseases.
If you do get the flu, the flu shot may reduce the severity of flu-related complications.
If you’re an older adult, you’re particularly vulnerable to the flu. For adults 65 years of age and older, the risk for influenza-attributed death was 12x greater among those with chronic lung disease. As we age, our immune systems weaken, and our body’s response to the flu shot isn’t as strong. A high-dose flu vaccine has been developed for adults in this age bracket. This vaccine helps produce a stronger immune response to the flu. If you’re an older adult living with asthma, getting immunized against influenza is an important way to protect your health.
Every year, a new flu vaccine is created to protect you during the flu season. The type of virus changes every year, and the effectiveness of the flu shot can wear off, so you need an annual shot to stay protected. The flu shot also protects against several different flu viruses each season, so even if the shot is less effective against one virus, the shot will protect you against the remaining two or three viruses.
A common myth about the flu is that you get the flu from the flu shot. But it’s simply not true. You cannot get the flu from the flu shot, and most people have no side effects from the flu shot at all.
Even if you’re wearing a mask and practising physical distancing when in public, you should still get immunized against influenza. As pandemic-related protocols lessen, there’s more opportunity for the flu to begin to spread quickly and easily. Even if you don’t get sick, you can still pass on the flu virus to others. Getting the flu shot is an extra layer of protection.
The flu shot does not protect you against COVID-19. However, receiving the flu shot reduces your chances of having to be admitted to hospital with influenza-related complications during the pandemic.
If you’re living with asthma, COVID-19 vaccination is also recommended for you. If you have questions about which vaccines are recommended for you, be sure to schedule an appointment with your heatlh care provider.
I got my COVID-19 shot. Do I still need a flu shot? Yes! Since they are different viruses, they require different vaccines. The best protection against flu is the flu shot, and the best protection against COVID-19 is a COVID vaccine.
When can I get a flu shot? Flu season is generally from September through May, and flu shots typically become available in the fall. You should try to get immunized as soon as you can.
Where can I get a flu shot? There are several places you can get a flu shot:
- Community Flu Shot Clinic
- Medical Walk-in Clinic
- Your Family Doctor
- Local Public Health Office
- Travel Vaccine Clinic
You can also visit www.myvaccines.ca to locate flu shots available near you. If flu shots are not available yet, you can sign up to be notified when they do become available. If you are 65+ you can search specifically for a high-dose flu shot available near you.
People with chronic health conditions are at higher risk of influenza and related complications. Talk to your doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or local public health office about getting immunized against the flu.
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