Be a flu fighter!
By Lt Falyn Cavanagh-Dollard, RN, BScN
CF H Svcs C (A)
Influenza (“flu”) is a highly contagious viral respiratory infection. It is spread person-to-person by respiratory droplets either directly through coughs or sneezes, or indirectly by contaminated hands or surfaces. The ideal time for getting your flu vaccine is in the fall, before the virus is in wide circulation. New strains appear every year, thus the importance of an annual flu vaccine.
In some circumstances, CAF members are at increased risk for becoming infected because of crowding and stress, such as on deployment, on ships, or during training exercises. Historically, the flu causes widespread illness requiring absence from the workplace, with the potential for operational impacts. As per Force Health Protection’s latest flu advisory, unimmunized working-age adults have an infection rate about five times higher than that of those who are vaccinated!
Symptoms of Influenza
Symptoms associated with the flu range from mild to severe, and at times can result in hospitalization or even death. Those with the flu experience some or all of the following:
- High fever (or feeling feverish/chills) with sudden onset;
- General muscle/body aches;
- Sore throat;
- Runny or stuffy nose;
- Cough and chest discomfort;
- Can lead to pneumonia and respiratory failure; and
- Can worsen a pre-existing chronic health condition
Groups for whom the influenza vaccine is recommended
The flu vaccine is an effective way to prevent the flu and its complications. The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) recommends the flu vaccine this season for anyone six months of age and older, especially those at high risk of flu-related complications or hospitalization.
Some examples of individuals being at high-risk include those 65 years and older, those who are pregnant, and those with heart or lung illness, diabetes, cancer or undergoing treatment, kidney disease, anemia, neurologic conditions, and morbid obesity.
As Nova Scotia has entered Phase 5 of the reopening plan and Public Health measures gradually ease, we are starting to move into the new normal of living with COVID-19. With the prospect of restrictions easing, and subsequent increase in in-person interactions, it is particularly important to remember to get in line to receive your flu vaccine.
The COVID-19 vaccine and flu vaccine do not replace one another. Both vaccines are prudent measures in reducing your risk of becoming sick or spreading either virus to friends, family, co-workers, and the community.
Below is the schedule for upcoming flu clinics. We also continue to provide COVID-19 vaccines; to book yours reach out to HfxCovidVaccineBookings@forces.gc.ca today!
Seasonal Influenza Vaccine Clinics 2021/2022
The following flu clinics will be held over the next few weeks and are open to all Regular Force and Reserve Force Class B (>180 days) and Class C members.
Time: 0900-1130 and 1300-1430
Mon Oct 18 – 1st Floor (Galley)
Tues Oct 26 – 1st Floor (Galley)
Tues Nov 2 – 1st Floor (Galley)
Tues Nov 9 – 1st Floor (Galley)
Tues Oct 26 – Sea King Club
Thurs Oct 28 – Sea King Club
Fri Nov 4 – Sea King Club
Fri Nov 12 – Sea King Club
Thurs Nov 18 – Sea King Club
Thurs Nov 25 – Sea King Club
Please note that for Reserve Force Class A and Class B (<180 days) and civilian employees the vaccine is publically funded and accessible to those in possession of a valid provincial health card. It is available through your family physician, walk-in clinics, and pharmacies throughout the province.