With the flu season in full swing, Alberta Health Services (AHS) continues to encourage people to take the flu vaccine.
According to the AHS, as of December 28, 2018, there have been more than 4,000 confirmed cases of influenza in Alberta. In the north zone, which includes Bonnyville, there were more than 1,000.
Sarah Waskiewich, a pharmacy at Guardian Pharmacy in Tellier, emphasized the importance of taking steps to prevent you and others from getting the flu.
"It's good to protect yourself, loved ones and friends against the flu. Even if you really do not want to, it's always good to protect yourself from moving on to your grandmother or grandpa."
She continued: "(the flu) can lead to pneumonia. It can lead to complications, especially if you are elderly or are already sick. If you have family or friends who are older or have some kind of immune compromising condition, it's always good to protect them against it. "
Regardless of whether you have received the photo in the past, AHS recommends that you do it annually.
"I think it's important for people to know that even though they were immunized last year, they should be revaccinated because protection against immunization at each station decreases over time," said Dr. Gerard Benadé. "We know last season that the risk of Albertans catching the flu after vaccination has been reduced by 42%."
According to Waskiewich, Tellier's distributed more than 600 flu shots to residents so far this season.
"It's definitely advisable to get it early in the season when the flu really hits here, but it's not too late. If you do not have it, it's still good to come in (and get it.) It takes two weeks to become effective after injection, and is always good (to get it), the sooner the better, "he detailed.
The flu season usually runs from October to March.
Although you may experience some symptoms following your immunization, Benadé pointed out that you can not catch the flu as a result of the injection.
"The content of the vaccine is not infectious. The vaccine was designed in such a way that it triggers the immune system so that individuals develop immunity within a few weeks after receiving the flu vaccine, "he explained.
Waskiewich agreed: "Typically, a headache is the major side effect after receiving the flu vaccine or a sore arm from the injection itself. You really should not get vaccine flu. It is not really possible (because) it is an inactivated virus that we are injecting into you. If you're getting a little sick, sometimes it's just an immune response to … fighting it. If you get nauseated and stuffy nose afterwards, it's not flu, it was just a coincidence that you got sick after the shot. "
Immunization clinics are being offered by Bonnyville Community Health Services by the end of March for residents six months or older, while pharmacies are distributing the flu vaccine at age five and by the end of March as well. Both are drop-in and do not require appointments.