After getting the flu shot you breathe a sigh of relief. Phew! I'm vaccinated, the kids are vaccinated. We're safe! But wait a minute. Hold on. No you are not! Not yet!

Did you know that it takes your body up to two weeks to develop a full immune response to the virus? Only then are you fully prepared to fight off the virus.

Don't forget that children under 9 years old and more than 6 months old require a second vaccination 4 weeks after the first shot, if they've never been vaccinated for influenza. Then you have to wait 8 to 10 days after that for them to be fully immune.

Continue to wash your hands regularly, use hand sanitizers, cough and sneeze into your sleeve, avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, and all the other preventative measures you have in place. If you know someone has the flu, stay away. These are all important measures to prevent the spread of any type of germ.

In Canada, pandemic H1N1 virus was confirmed in the 2009-2010 flu season. In subsequent years, there have been spikes in H1N1 cases. If you are exposed to the H1N1 flu virus during the time where you are not fully immune, you may come down with the flu, but it may be a milder case. But you may also have the seasonal flu and not H1N1. Symptoms of H1N1 and seasonal flu are very similar:

  • fever
  • aches and pain
  • runny nose
  • stuffy nose
  • cough
  • sore throat
  • headache
  • tiredness
  • nausea and vomiting

Don't forget – fall is the time the regular seasonal flu spreads as well, so get vaccinated for that too.

Be safe!

Ruth Ackerman

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