Toronto Public Health launches free flu shot clinics

A reconstruction of the 1918 Spanish flu virus.
A reconstruction of the 1918 Spanish flu virus.

Flu season has arrived in Toronto and to help residents reduce their risk, Toronto Public Health is offering free flu shot clinics from October 23 to November 29 at 13 locations across the city. Flu shots are also available in doctor’s offices and pharmacies in Toronto.

“Everyone is susceptible to getting the flu. Hand washing, sneezing or coughing into your sleeve and staying home when you are sick reduces the risk of the flu,” said Dr. David McKeown, Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health. “Getting the flu vaccine is the best way to stay healthy and protect yourself, your family and others against the flu.”

Influenza, also known as the flu, can spread to others before symptoms appear.  Symptoms include headache, chills, cough, fever, loss of appetite, muscle aches, fatigue, runny nose, sneezing, watery eyes and throat irritation.

Millions of Canadians suffer from the flu every year and over 12,000 individuals are hospitalized each year. While most people recover within a week to 10 days, the flu can worsen pre-existing medical conditions including asthma and heart disease, and can develop into more serious health problems such as pneumonia, and sometimes can even result in death.

Pregnant women are advised to get the flu shot early in the season, regardless of the stage of pregnancy. Also, young children – especially those under five – and the elderly are among those at highest risk of serious illness and complications from the flu.

In addition to getting the vaccine, Toronto Public Health recommends:

  • washing hands frequently,
  • sneezing and coughing into sleeve if no tissue is available,
  • avoiding touching eyes, nose and mouth with unclean hands, and
    staying home when sick.

The flu vaccine is free for persons six months and older who live, work or attend school in Ontario. For the full schedule of flu vaccination clinics, call 416-338-7600 or visit http://bit.ly/1FwZ8rs. Individuals can also book an appointment online at http://www.tphbookings.ca.

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