Toronto Public Health flu clinics have begun

Free flu shots are now available at Toronto Public Health clinics across the city. A total of 64 clinics will operate at 42 locations between October 28 and mid-January.

“When you get the flu shot, you are not just protecting yourself, you are also protecting your loved ones, co-workers and the public,” said Dr. Barbara Yaffe, Director of Communicable Disease Control for Toronto Public Health.

The types of flu virus that circulate change every year, and that’s why last year’s flu shot will not protect you this season. This year`s vaccine has three strains of the virus, including H1N1, to offer the best protection against the flu.

Everyone is at risk of getting the flu. Although most people who get the flu will not get seriously ill, high-risk people can become very ill with complications. People who are at high risk include: all children four years of age and under; people 65 years and older; residents of nursing homes or chronic care facilities; people with chronic health conditions such as diabetes, cancer, lung, heart or kidney disease; pregnant women; Aboriginal peoples; and people who are obese. Complications can include pneumonia, ear infections, dehydration and, in rare cases, death.

In addition to getting the flu shot, Toronto Public Health is encouraging people to reduce the risk of infection by taking these simple steps: wash your hands; cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue, or your sleeve – not your hands; and stay home when you are sick.

For the full flu vaccination clinic schedule or more information, visit http://www.toronto.ca/health or call 416-338-7600.