The flu shot reduces the risk of getting influenza by 70 to 90 percent. And follow these other tips to keep healthy this cold and flu season.
Male Speaker: Winter is just around the corner and it's important to maintain good health during a time of year when seasonal illnesses like the flu are common. That's why yearly immunization is one of the most important factors in Influenza Management along with simple preventative steps to stay healthy this winter. By getting a flu shot, you can reduce your risk of contracting influenza by 70 to 90%. Frequent and proper hand hygiene is also important in preventing the spread of influenza, since everything we touch is potentially covered with germs. It is important not to bring one's hands in contact with one's mouth, eyes or nose before cleansing throughly with soap and warm water. This is the method used by health professionals when dealing with sick people. It helps prevent them from getting sick as well. Family health expert, Doctor David Greenberg also recommends avoiding people who are sick. He also suggests you face into your upper sleeve when coughing or sneezing to prevent transmission and try to keep common services at work and home clean. Doctor Greenberg also notes the importance of immunizing children. David Greenberg: Children are significant spreaders of the flu virus and that makes it that much important that we get kids over six months immunized against the flu. The research shows that if you immunize everybody in your house who is over six months old, you reduce the chances of anybody getting the flu by 42% but if you immunize everybody in your house, it will reduce the chance of anybody in your house getting the flu by 80%. So, clearly it's an excellent strategy to immunize everybody in your family. In addition to giving a fly shot, the most important prevention strategy is to wash your hands, wash your kid's hands and make sure that anytime kids come in from an activity, be at school, day care, playing with other kids that they wash their hands or at least sanitize. That's a strategy that we use in our house. It's what I recommend to my patients and it does a great job of helping prevent the spread of the flu. Male Speaker: Leading public health researcher, Doctor Jeff Kwong says, Ontario's Universal Influenza Immunization program has prevented an average of 300 deaths a year. The program has also prevented approximately 1000 hospitalizations, 30,000 visits to the emergency departments and 200,000 visits to doctor's offices each year. Jeff Kwong: The people who fit up the flu shot every year include the elderly, children under two, pregnant women, and those who is in chronic medical conditions. These groups are at the highest risk for getting serious complications of influenza but these people often get their infections from those around them. One of the benefits of Ontario's Universal Flu shot program is that everyone can get the flu shot for free. So by vaccinating more people, fewer people get the infection and pass it on to those who are at high risk. Ontarians should talk to their health care provider about their Family Stay Healthy plan and visit www.gettheflushot.ca for more information on influenza immunizations and details on where to found a flu clinic in your area. Martin Vanderwoude reporting.