Ottawa - Ottawa Public Health (OPH) and The Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) are reminding residents that it is not too late to get vaccinated to protect against the flu. It is strongly recommended that anyone over six months of age get their flu vaccine to protect themselves and their loved ones from getting the flu.
OPH and CHEO recommend that all children receive their flu vaccine annually as they are one of the most vulnerable groups to be affected by the flu and its possible complications.
“Each year during flu season, there are many children admitted to CHEO suffering from the flu or one of its complications such as pneumonia,” explains Dr. Lindy Samson, Chief, Division of Infectious Diseases. “These are illnesses and complications that in all likelihood would have been prevented had those children been vaccinated. Children under the age of five and those with underlying medical problems are at highest risk of needing admission to hospital or developing complications if they get the flu so we strongly recommend that they be immunized.”
The flu virus spreads very easily from person to person through coughing, sneezing or touching contaminated objects. Even if you do not have flu-like symptoms, you can still spread the virus to others. By getting the vaccine, parents and caregivers can help protect their loved ones and their clients from getting sick this flu season.
“The flu season is off to an early start this year, but it is not too late for residents to protect themselves and their loved ones,” said Councillor Diane Holmes, Chair of the Ottawa Board of Health. “There are enough flu vaccine doses for everyone who would like to receive one. Furthermore, we encourage residents to take other precautions against the flu, such as hand washing, sneezing into a tissue or arm and staying home when you are sick.”
CHEO has helpful tips for parents to take the ‘ouch’ out of vaccination:
- Mothers can breastfeed babies during vaccination, or request sucrose for infants when available;
- Parents of toddlers can sit face-to-face with their child on their lap in a hugging position; and
- For toddlers and older children, deep breathing games can help. For instance, bring a small bottle of bubble maker and a wand, and take turns blowing bubbles.
Over the last five weeks, OPH held 30 well attended flu clinics and supported many community health care providers and hospitals in giving the flu vaccine to their clients. After administering nearly 19,412 vaccines, OPH will hold its final clinics this week:
Wednesday, December 12
Jim Durrell Recreation Centre
1265 Walkley Road, Ottawa
3:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Thursday, December 13
City of Ottawa Facility
100 Constellation Drive, Nepean
3:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
* By appointment only
Saturday, December 15
Lester B. Pearson Catholic High School
2072 Jasmine Crescent, Gloucester
8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
For more information about the flu vaccine, please visit ottawa.ca or call Ottawa Public Health Information at 613-580-6744 (TTY: 613-580-9656). You can also connect with OPH on Facebook and Twitter (@ottawahealth) for the latest public health information.
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