Flu season is fast approaching! Luckily, Lakeside Medicine Centre Pharmacy in Kelowna is offering flu shots to help protect you against nasty flu bugs this winter.

We have answered some frequently asked questions below for those who would like to learn more about the flu, flu vaccine and what to expect when getting a flu shot at Lakeside Medicine Centre.

What is the flu, and am I at risk?

Influenza, commonly known as the flu, is a contagious respiratory infection. Flus are different from colds; they can come on quite suddenly, and are often accompanied by symptoms such as fever, coughing and sore throat, sneezing and runny nose, body aches, fatigue, nausea and headaches. Everyone is at risk of contracting the flu due to its highly contagious nature.

While the flu does not always develop into something more serious, it can lead to hospitalization and even death. This is especially true for those with weakened immune systems such as seniors, those with chronic medical conditions, young children and pregnant women.

What are flu vaccines, and how do they work?

Because flu viruses are always mutating and changing, it’s important to get a new flu shot every year. This year’s flu shot, as determined by Interior Health, protects against the following flu strains which are predicted to be the most common this season:

  • A/Michigan/45/2015 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus
  • A/Signapore/INFIMH-16-0019/2016 (H3N2)-like virus
  • B/Colorado/06/2017-like virus

Flu vaccines create antibodies to fight those specific strains. This means that starting around two weeks after you receive the shot, your body will be prepared to fight off the flu virus, reducing your chances of getting sick if you come into contact with the virus.

Can the flu shot make me sick?

This is a common misconception about flu shots. The answer is that no, the flu shot will not give you the flu. Some people may experience mild side effects, such as soreness at the injection site, headaches and a slight fever that should pass in a day or two.

More serious side effects are uncommon, and include a high fever or allergic reaction. Those who experience serious side effects should contact their doctor.

The risks of the influenza virus are considered far greater than the risks associated with the flu shot.

Am I eligible for a free flu shot?

Many people in Kelowna are eligible for free flu shots. For a full list of eligibility, visit the Interior Health website.

Flu shots at Lakeside Medicine Centre Pharmacy

At Lakeside Medicine Centre, we understand that the process of getting a flu shot can be uncomfortable. We offer a safe and friendly environment where an experienced pharmacist will administer your flu shot in a private clinic room. We are happy to answer any questions that you may have and discuss whether or not the flu shot is right for you.

Come by the pharmacy between Tuesday - Friday from 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. for your shot, every week until March. Walk-ins are welcome. Must be five years or older.

The flu vaccines are subject to availability, so act soon to get yours. Contact Lakeside Medicine Centre for more information.