Temperatures are dropping and people are piling on the layers. This time of year we’re hibernating inside to escape the cold. This is when the flu season kicks off — but should you get your flu shot and why is it important?
Although getting the flu shot is optional, health officials suggest getting a flu shot every year. This is not only to protect yourself but to protect your loved ones as well.
“A lot of people in college go home … they start visiting family during Christmas time. You’re going to visit your grandparents, you may visit nieces and nephews — cousins, who are too young or too old for their body to adapt fully to a vaccine,” said David Aoki, manager of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases for Region of Waterloo Public Health. “And if they get the disease, they have a high risk of getting severe disease. In the elderly and very young it can be deadly. For you getting it, you’re not just protecting yourself, you are protecting those who might come in contact with it.”
Aoki also said the best time of year to get a flu shot is in November since it’s the first time the vaccines are available and it gives your body time to create antibodies against the disease. He also said it’s best to get it before late December to mid-January when the season is usually at its peak.
This year’s trivalent (three-component) flu vaccine protects against three different types of flu strains:
- A/Brisbane/02/2018 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus.
- A/Kansas/14/2017 (H3N2)-like virus.
- And A/Kansas/14/2017 (H3N2)-like virus.
The quadrivalent (four-component) flu vaccine also protects against the B/Phuket/3073/2013-like (Yamagata lineage) virus and is recommended for people 65 and older.
Some Conestoga students don’t regularly ever get their flu shots.
“I haven’t gotten the flu shot since I was very young. Out of all the people I’ve heard who had gotten it, they all got the flu after they got the flu shot,” said Austin Devries, a first-year mechanical engineering student.
Conestoga College will be hosting flu shot clinics on campus on various days all between the times of 9:30 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Doon campus will have them in the recreation centre’s multi-purpose room on November 5 and 12. They will also have one on November 15 for families with dependants over the age of four years.
Waterloo campus will have a clinic in room 1G28 on November 7, and Guelph campus on November 14 in room A15.
Registration lines close at 2:45 p.m. each day and a valid OneCard must be presented for registration.
If you plan on getting the flu shot, remember that the sooner you get it, the better protected from the virus you will be.