Consider a shot in the arm

Empty workplaces and packed emergency rooms were the norm last winter as millions of Canadians hacked and sneezed their way through a particularly nasty flu season.
So it’s understandable that many of us are now stocking up on chicken soup for the coming winter.

Others will take stronger preventative measures and join the 5 million plus Canadians who annually receive the flu vaccination.

The flu vaccination, or flu shot, is no longer administered to just the bed-ridden, chronically ill or elderly. Each year, more and more Canadians offer up their arms in hopes of staying well. There’s growing public interest in the pneumonia shot as well.

That’s because when the two shots are combined, they form an effective double team against two of winter’s most aggravating maladies. This was borne out by a recent U.S. study showing adults who had both shots had:
· 72 per cent decrease in hospitalizations for those diseases
· 82 per cent reduction in deaths.

Flu complications
In Canada, it’s estimated that as many 1,500 Canadians die each year from flu or flu-related complications — so the positive results from the U.S. study should encourage more Canadians to seek the two vaccines.

The flu shot is made up of dead influenza virus particles from a number of flu strains identified each year by the World Health Organization. And, contrary to popular belief, the vaccine is composed of dead particles — so it won’t cause you catch the flu.

The pneumonia vaccine, as well as providing longer-term protection, protects against nine out of 10 strains of pneumoccoccal disease.

You can get either shot directly from your physician, who will also inform you whether you are covered by your province’s health insurance.