As if being in the middle of a pandemic wasn’t enough, here we are in flu season again.
I never really used to think about the flu. I’d get a cold about once a year. I’d increase my Vitamin C intake, get more rest, and keep my distance from others, and that would be all I really needed to do to fight it off in a few days. But as I get older, and as I now work closely with elderly people, I am learning just how important it is to protect ourselves and others from the flu.
What can you do to protect yourself and your elderly loved ones? Wear a mask. Wash or sanitize your hands at every opportunity. Keep your distance from others. And get a flu shot.
According to the Saskatchewan Health Authority, the flu vaccine is a safe, effective way to help people stay healthy, prevent illness, and save lives. And having done it now for eight years, I can tell you that it’s quick and painless. In Saskatchewan, it’s also free. Getting vaccinated is especially important for elderly people—who are at high risk of influenza complications—and for their caregivers. And the earlier you get your flu shot, the better protected you are.
Can you still get influenza if you get a flu shot? Well, yes, for a number of reasons. One reason can be exposure to a flu virus in the two-week period after vaccination that it takes the body to develop immune protection. But, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, chances are it will be a milder case.
And if there was ever a time to avoid the hospital, this is it. Because of the pandemic, hospital beds are in short supply, and our medical professionals are exhausted.
This flu season’s vaccine is available now through public health clinics across the province, some physician and nurse practitioner offices, and at local pharmacies. Click here for a list of clinic locations in Saskatchewan.
And if you’re elderly and in need of someone to take you, give me a call. I’d love to help.