Why You And Your Family Should Get The Flu Shot

Young kids and pregnant women should get the flu shot every year as they are more susceptible to negative complications

Halloween has passed and the holiday season is on the horizon, meaning one thing: we are in flu season.

It is important for everyone to get their flu shots, but there are certain sectors of the population that are more at risk to the complications of influenza.

You may not realize that once your child reaches six months of age, they should be getting the flu shot for multiple reasons. It may seem young, but because they are young, they’ve had less experience in the world. Their immune systems have yet to be exposed to the flu virus making them more susceptible to contracting the flu.

“The complications for little kids with little airways are more problematic. They have higher rates of hospitalization and higher rates of mortality especially under the age of two,” says Dr. Robin Williams, Associate Chief Medical Officer of Health of Ontario.  

Young children also play in a way that makes them much more susceptible to contraction influenza.

“Kids play together in a different way in terms of sharing toys. The younger they are the more likely they are to suck on things, put things in their mouth, explore their world with their mouths,” says Dr. Williams. And try as we may to instill proper hygienic practices from a young age, most young children aren’t as good at other preventative measures.

Hand hygiene, covering your mouth when you sneeze or cough, keeping your distance from people when they are sick and staying home from work ( or school or daycare) if you are sick are all important ways to keep healthy and prevent the spread of the virus this flu season.

Dr. Williams also highlights the importance of the general practices of living healthy such as eating well, exercising and getting enough sleep.   

The final layer of protection for kids is for the adults around them to also get the flu shot; teachers, day care providers as well as parents should all be vaccinated not only for their own sakes but for the children around them.

If you are pregnant, it is also important to get your flu shot. Much like young children, pregnant women have an increased vulnerability to the influenza bug; when you’re pregnant your body has a different way of managing your immunity therefore it becomes a particular risk period.

The flu shot is available for anyone over the age of five ay your health care provider, your family physician and your community health centre. Also, over the last three years pharmacy technicians have been trained to give the flu shot to anyone over the age of five, making it that much easier. Just stop in to your local Shoppers Drug Mart or Rexall to get the flu shot.

Under the age of five, vaccinations are provided through your family physician.

There are different layers of protection that we can put energy into, but the number one way to fight influence is the vaccine. So make sure you get vaccination this flu season.

Check out the video below to see notable Canadian parents including Editor-In-Chief of BabyPost, Natalie Milne and Dr. Williams speak on the importance of getting the flu shot!

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