Officials are projecting a worse flu season than last year judging by the numbers coming out of Australia’s flu season, which happens during our summer months or their winter months. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Officials are projecting a worse flu season than last year judging by the numbers coming out of Australia’s flu season, which happens during our summer months or their winter months. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Everything you need to know before getting the flu shot

Island pharmacist shares concerns, recommendations before flu season hits

Flu season is upon us. Influenza can affect up to millions of people every year in various ways.

The potentially serious disease that can hospitalize people or even cause death in some cases, but can be prevented by the flu shot. Black Press Media chatted with Jennifer Eggen, pharmacist owner at Shoppers Drug Mart Westshore Town Centre, about everything people need to know before getting the vaccine.

Why should people get the flu shot?

Officials are projecting a worse flu season than last year judging by the numbers coming out of Australia’s flu season, which happens during our summer months (their winter months). According to Eggen, in June Australia had 31,220 cases of the flu across the country compared to the 2,000 cases in June 2018, adding that was a low estimate because the statistics only show those seeking treatment in the hospital or emergency room.

Who should get the flu shot?

All Canadians are encouraged to get the flu shot. Even if you think you’re healthy, young and don’t get sick often it’s still strongly recommended to get the shot, as it protects those who can’t get the vaccine. Eggen says it’s not so much about protecting the individual, but about protecting those around us such as babies, seniors, pregnant women and people with chronic medical conditions.

READ ALSO: B.C. care homes urged to let seniors buy high-dose flu shot

Who shouldn’t get the flu shot?

People who have had serious reactions to the vaccine in the past or people who are allergic to a component in the flu shot. Eggen recommends talking to your doctor before making the final decision, as almost everyone can get the shot.

When should you get the flu shot?

Basically, now is the best time says Eggen. Flu season generally starts in October and continues throughout the year until around April or May. Because the shot takes two weeks to start working, Eggen recommends getting the shot before the worst of the season hits.

How long is the vaccine good for?

If you’re thinking — well I got it last year so I don’t need one this year, think again. People’s antibodies wane over time and vaccine strains change year after year so it’s best to get it once a year. The vaccine also only lasts about a year, adding to the reasons why you should get the shot yearly.

READ ALSO: B.C. flu vaccine delivery delayed, not expected to affect vaccinations

How effective is the flu shot?

Eggen says while it’s not an exact science, their best guess is the vaccine reduces the risk of infection by a dominating flu strain by 70 per cent — meaning you could still get sick from non-dominant strain. So even if it’s not spot on, the vaccine will still reduce a person’s overall risk of getting the flu says Eggen.

Should you get the flu shot if you’re sick?

If you’ve got a cold or a different virus, Eggen recommends waiting until you’ve fully recovered to get your flu shot. If your body is fighting something and you get the vaccine your body can be overwhelmed and it won’t provide the proper protection.

Can you get sick from the flu shot?

No. It’s a completely inactive virus, so there’s no chance it can cause you to get sick.

Does the flu shot have side effects?

Some. Eggen says side effects are mild and infrequent, usually consisting of a bit of local pain at the site of the injection, redness, possible swelling. A general feeling of un-wellness is another side effect but is uncommon.

Can you get the nasal spray instead of the injection?

No, for the 2019-2020 flu season, the nasal spray will not be available in British Columbia.

Are flu shots free?

Flu shots are free if you meet a certain requirement, luckily almost everyone meets the criteria. Those who don’t qualify will be from out of province or from the United States and will pay about $25 to get the shot.



kendra.crighton@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Wells filmmaker James Douglas will be directing a feature length Christmas Movie, set to film in Prince George in March. (Baker Street Productions)
Wells director set to lead Christmas film shoot

James Douglas will be the man in charge in Prince George from March 1 - 13

Registered Nurse, Teresa Friesen immunizes Dunrovin resident, Richard Brophy. (Submitted Photo)
Dunrovin residents first to receive vaccine in Quesnel

91 residents in the seniors’ home were given the first dose of their vaccine

The Quesnel Regional Airport hasn’t hosted passenger flights since Central Mountain Air stopped flying into the city in April of 2020 due to a COVID-19 downturn. File Photo
Council trying to attract airlines back to Quesnel

Staff to investigate temporarily waiving landing fees at Quesnel Airport

The KIJHL’s Kamloops Storm players celebrate on the ice at West Fraser Centre after a goal during one of their games in Quesnel in December 2017. Efforts to bring a KIJHL team to Quesnel stalled in 2018 after the league’s executive voted 16-3 against expansion. (Tracey Roberts Photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)
Kangaroos fighting GMHL junior expasion into Quesnel

The Senior AA team sent a letter asking council to not support the non-sanctioned league’s efforts

Newly elected Nazko Chief Leah Stump penned a letter explaining the scope of the project. (Photo submitted)
Nazko seeks approval to build housing for members facing lengthy medical visits in Quesnel

The First Nation is looking to build nine units in West Quesnel to help members staying in the city

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry addresses the media during a news conference at the BC Centre of Disease Control in Vancouver B.C. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
B.C. announces 485 new COVID-19 cases, fewest deaths in months

‘The actions we take may seem small, but will have a big impact to stop the virus,” urges Dr. Henry

Royal B.C. Museum conservator Megan Doxsey-Whitfield kneels next to a carved stone pillar believed to have significance as a First Nations cultural marker by local Indigenous people. The pillar was discovered on the beach at Dallas Road last summer. Museum curatorial staff have been working with Songhees and Esquimalt Nation representatives to gain a clearer picture of its use. (Photo courtesy Royal BC Museum)
Stone carving found on Victoria beach confirmed Indigenous ritual pillar

Discussion underway with the Esquimalt and Songhees about suitable final home for the artifact

Former Vancouver Giants forward Evander Kane is seen here in Game 7 of the second round of the 2009 WHL playoffs against the Spokane Chiefs (Sam Chan under Wikipedia Commons licence)
Gambling debts revealed in details of bankruptcy filing by hockey star Evander Kane

Sharks left winger and former Vancouver Giants player owes close to $30 million total

Othman “Adam” Hamdan, pictured in front of Christina Lake’s Welcome Centre, was acquitted of terrorism related charges in 2017. He has been living in Christina Lake since November 2020. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Man acquitted on terrorism charges awaits deportation trial while living in Kootenays

Othman Ayed Hamdan said he wants to lead a normal life while he works on his upcoming book

B.C. Premier John Horgan wears a protective face mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 prior to being sworn in by The Honourable Janet Austin, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia during a virtual swearing in ceremony in Victoria, Thursday, November 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Premier Horgan calls jumping COVID vaccine queue ‘un-Canadian’

Horgan says most people in B.C. are doing their best to follow current public health guidelines

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, and Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart share a laugh while speaking to the media before sitting down for a meeting at City Hall, in Vancouver, on Friday August 30, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Vancouver mayor, Health Canada to formally discuss drug decriminalization

Kennedy Stewart says he’s encouraged by the federal health minister’s commitment to work with the city

Downtown Fernie is pictured after a snowfall.
B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks at B.C. legislature on the province’s mass vaccination plan for COVID-19, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
COVID-19 quarantine not an option for B.C., John Horgan says

Apres-ski parties increase risk, not interprovincial travel

Most Read