Pre­par­ing for flu sea­son

Car­bon­ear doc­tor be­lieves almost ev­ery­one can ben­e­fit from vac­cine

The Compass - - OPINION - Melissa.jenk­ins@tc.tc

Dawe be­lieves peo­ple work­ing in hos­pi­tals or old age homes should be en­cour­aged to get the shot, not forced.

“Even as a healthy per­son, I don’t even know if I’d get it if I was work­ing there,” she said. “I know that when I do get sick, I stay away from peo­ple.”

Although Ped­dle rec­om­mends ev­ery­one get the shot, Dawe feels she’s not sick of­ten, so get­ting the vac­ci­na­tion isn’t nec­es­sary for her.

“I’m not for it, but I’m not against it. But if it’s not bro­ken, don’t fix it,” she ex­plained.

Ped­dle said he is­sues flu vac­cines to peo­ple each year who have never re­ceived them be­fore, some­times be­cause they catch the flu the pre­vi­ous year.

But even after re­cently hav­ing pneu­mo­nia, which is a com­pli­ca­tion that can come from the flu virus, Dawe still isn’t in­ter­ested in the vac­cine. She be­lieves her eat­ing habits and life­style choices have worked for her so far, so she’ll con­tinue the same path.

“Ev­ery one of my meals has a salad in it. I steam all my vegetables. I take pro­bi­otics on a reg­u­lar ba­sis,” she said. “I don’t drink cow’s milk and I don’t eat a whole lot of dairy. I also try not to eat as much meat.”

Dawe catches her own fish, her boyfriend hunts moose and she buys her fruits and vegetables lo­cally.

Get­ting your vac­cine

Tra­di­tion­ally, a per­son had to visit their doc­tor to get the vac­cine. This year, in­di­vid­ual health boards of­fered pub­lic clin­ics across the prov­ince, in­clud­ing East­ern Health and Western Health.

Another new ad­di­tion to the in­fluenza vac­ci­na­tion pro­gram in this prov­ince is for trained phar­ma­cists to ad­min­is­ter it. Ped­dle sees no is­sue with that.

“If it in­creases the over­all level of vac­ci­na­tion, I see no prob­lem,” he said, not­ing some of his reg­u­lar pa­tients re­ceived their shots from the phar­ma­cists at the pharmacy lo­cated next to his of­fice.

There are peo­ple that Ped­dle be­lieves should not get the shot, like those who have had a se­vere al­ler­gic re­ac­tion to it in the past. Some with cer­tain al­ler­gies can still take it.

“It’s OK to give some­one with an egg al­lergy the vac­cine,” he said. “In­ci­dents are ex­tremely low or non-ex­is­tent.”

The vac­cine of­ten comes in a vial, but now is avail­able in sin­gle dose sy­ringes. There is also a nasal spray avail­able in some places across Canada called FluMist, but is not pub­licly funded by all ju­ris­dic­tions. It is rec­om­mended for chil­dren, more so that adults.

Flu sea­son is typ­i­cally be­tween early Novem­ber and late Fe­bru­ary in Canada, and vac­ci­na­tions are avail­able from your health­care provider and some phar­ma­cies across the prov­ince.

For more in­for­ma­tion on the in­fluenza vac­cine, visit http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/naci­c­cni/ or con­tact your fam­ily physi­cian.

Photo by Melissa Jenk­ins/The Com­pass

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