Ottawa gets full swing into the flu season, Jan Harder
As Ottawa gets full swing into the flu season, it is important to make sure that your vaccines are up to date.
Vaccines can help prevent you and your family members from getting sick. It is also important to ensure you get the flu shot, which in recent years has proven to be very effective. From 2018 to 2019, 434,564 people received the flu shot, over 30,000 more people than the year before. It proved to be 56 percent effective last year, meaning there were only 50 hospitalizations reported that year and 14 deaths from the flu. Despite all the fear of Lyme Disease and West Nile, two examples of diseases that have been found in the Ottawa region, the flu kills more people than those two combined. Getting the flu shot is not only preventative measure for your own health but for those around you who cannot be vaccinated or are more susceptible to getting really sick or dying from the flu. These include young children, the elderly and people who are immuno-compromised.
Ottawa Public Health (OPH) has ensured that everyone has a chance to get a flu shot and has run flu shot clinics at many locations around the community. Most pharmacies give them out, as do doctors’ offices. For a full list of where you can get the flu shot, visit https://www.ottawapublichealth.ca/en/public-health-topics/flu-clinics.aspx.
While Ottawa Public Health is a strong supporter in immunizations and a powerhouse for information, it also includes a variety of other services including; free dental screening clinics, parenting and parental services, well water testing and certified food handling training to name just a few.
With winter weather fast arriving, it is important to ensure you eat healthily and stay physically fit. That can be done by managing what you eat and by taking in the wide variety of activities that are taking place across the city this winter season.
So what does it mean to eat right? According to Ottawa Public Health’s website, eating right means eating a variety of foods including fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains, and different types of protein. These give you the nutrients you need to feel good, maintain your health, and give you energy. Nutrition is important for everyone. What you eat can affect your immune system, your mood, your concentration and focus, and your energy levels. When combined with being physically active, eating right is an excellent way to help your body stay strong and healthy.
When it comes to physical activity over the colder months, there is no shortage of activities to take part in. You can skate on the Rideau Canal during Winterlude which runs from January 31 to February 17, skate at any free rinks across the city, including the Rink of Dreams at City Hall. Did you know that it is refrigerated? This means the ice is not weather dependent and is always perfect to skate. There is even a Beaver Tails shack which despite OPH’s urge for healthy eating, is a great treat to have after some activity. For a list of winter-related activities in Ottawa, you can take part in, visit: https://theplanetd.com/ottawa-attractions-winter-activities/.
Just a few minutes a day can help prevent simple bacterial and viral infections, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. During the winter months, simply washing your hands frequently will prevent the spread of illnesses. After all, every doorknob, every stair rail and indeed every surface can be filled with the germs that get you sick.
This winter, make prevention your goal. Eat right, move and get your flu shot!