The Hanover and District Hospital is reminding the public to roll up their sleeve and receive their flu shot.
Infection Control Practitioner Laura Ott says receiving the influenza vaccination is the best defense against contracting the flu.
Last year over 12 thousand Canadians were hospitalized as a result of the flu and there were 3,500 related deaths to the flu.
Ott says it is particularly important to receive the flu shot to protect those within society who can not receive the flu shot as well as those who are immune compromised.
Those at higher risk of serious complication include: infants, young children, adults aged 65 and over, pregnant women and those living with a chronic health condition.
Ott says there are a lot of misconception out there concerning the flu vaccine and it safety.
She encourages those with questions or concerns to do their own research, read medical journals in search of facts and reminds them not to beleive everything they read on social media.
Ott maintains the flu vaccine is indeed safe and has benefited millions of Canadians since 1946.
Ott says only about 1 to 2 percent of people who get a flu shot will have fever as a side effect.
She adds severe reactions to the vaccine are extremely rare.
Ott says the public should not confuse influenza with what some call the ‘stomach flu’ which is actually a gastroenteritis viral infection.
Influenza or the flu is a respiratory infection with symptoms similar to a cold but much more severe including a high fever for several days, body aches, fatigue and weakness.
Ott says influenza is very contagious and can spread quickly and easily, one can pass on the flu to others 48 hours before experiencing symptoms.
Along with receiving the flu shot, Ott says it is important to: wash your hands frequently, avoid touching your nose, ears and mouth with unclean hands, cough into a tissue or your sleeve, keep frequently touched common surfaces clean, avoid hand shakes and try not to use other people’s phones, computers or work tools.
If you are ill with the flu, she says it is important to stay home.
The Hanover and District Hospital is urging all of its employees who can to also receive the influenza vaccination.
The goal is to have 75 percent of staff receive the vaccine, last year HDH had a 73 percent staff vaccination
Flu vaccinations are free and can be obtained at various Public Health flu clinics, local doctor offices and a number of participating pharmacies throughout the region.