Sudbury·Audio

Sudbury residents rolling up their sleeves to stay influenza-free

Ebola may be top of mind for most people these days, but there's a more common virus that Sudbury's health care professionals are concerned about — and that's influenza.
Judi Straughan gets the flu shot at Sudbury's health unit. She's sporting one of the free t-shirts being given away for those who come in for vaccinations. (Olivia Stefanovich/CBC)

Ebola may be top of mind for most people these days, but there's a more common virus that Sudbury's health care professionals are concerned about — and that's influenza.

Lisa Schell from Sudbury's health unit says the flu vaccine helps the body recognize different strains of influenza so it can defend against it.

"It's sort of a little war that happens within our own bodies and provides us with that protection."

Getting that yearly defensive shot is routine for Sudbury Theatre Centre education manager Judi Straughan, as she's in constant contact with the public.

If we're sick we can't make any money, and that's our livelihood.- Steven O'Brien, business owner

"I see countless people every day at the Sudbury Theatre Centre and I don't want to be spreading anything."

Steven O'Brien is also rolling up his sleeve.

Last year, his girlfriend fell ill with the virus and had to take a few days off school.

The business owner says that experience made him realize the importance of the shot.

"If we're sick we can't make any money, and that's our livelihood."

In Ontario, more than 250 deaths are reported from complications associated with the virus each year.

Last year, more than 10,000 cases of influenza were confirmed in the province.

Schell, who is the manager of clinical services for the health unit, said the flu shot is the best defence against the virus.

“Washing your hands and coughing or sneezing into your sleeve is an effective measure, but the added protection in that is get your flu shot to further protect yourself and to further protect the individuals that are around you,” she said.

Flu shots are free to any one over the age of six months who is living, working or attending school in the province.

The health unit has launched a social media campaign with Sudbury's hospital to get people vaccinated.

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