Flu season is here

Photo by Erin Williams

Student Nathan Chow getting his flu shot.

It’s that time of year again. People are coughing, sneezing, and just not feeling well. Flu season is upon us.

In Ontario, anyone over six months old can get the flu shot for free in more than 26-hundred pharmacies across the province.

Durham College and UOIT students can get their shot for free all month long at the Wellness Centre on campus.

Student Nathan Chow is getting his shot today.
“Students should definitely get the shot,” says Chow. “Better safe than sorry.”
While Chow gets his free shot today, students Tanice and Tessa Laframboise were not interested.

“I don’t really think it makes a difference,” says Tanice. “I hear from people who get the shot that it doesn’t really work for them so I just thought it was a waste.”

Her sister agreed. “I’m with her, I don’t like shots. I’m terrified.”

According to the provincial Ministry of Health, the flu is a serious respiratory and contagious infection that can lead to hospitalization or even death.

Over the last 50 years, millions of people in Canada have gotten a flu shot. You may experience minor side effects after you get the flu shot but they don’t last long. Common side effects are soreness, redness or swelling around the injection site. According to the ministry, serious reactions to the flu shot are very rare.

Symptoms of the flu can include fever, muscle aches, cough, sore throat, tiredness and headache. Anyone with these symptoms should contact a doctor.

People can lower the risk of catching the flu by cleaning their hands often with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, and coughing and sneezing into a tissue or sleeve, instead of a hand. Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces you use often such as countertops, phones, and keyboards is also helpful.

Vijay Pandya is the pharmacist on campus. He says the flu shot doesn’t take long and is beneficial for most people.

“It prevents us from getting sick and spending a lot of time and money on medications,” says Pandya. “It only takes a couple of minutes. Most offices, clinics, doctors and nurses are able to do it.”
Chow says the vaccine wasn’t as bad as he expected. “I barely felt it. It only took a split second.”

Pandya suggests those working in health care and those who could be putting more people at risk should definitely get the vaccine.

“Some of our students work in health care facilities like nursing students, personal support workers, dental hygienists,” he says. “So it’s good that they protect themselves as well as the client’s that they serve.”