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Providence Healthcare
Providence Healthcare

Staff in Providence’s pharmacy provide a full suite of personalized services including the flu shot. (Photo: Ramon Syyap)

Who are you protecting this flu season?

Oct 05, 2018

By Emily Dawson

Flu season is almost here, and Providence Healthcare would like to protect our communities by minimizing the spread of this virus and sharing some information about the vaccination.

‘Flu season’ peaks in the late fall and winter, with about five to 10 per cent of Canadian adults affected each year. Many of us know the symptoms all too well – fever, cough, muscle aches, loss of appetite and fatigue. Some people, especially children, also experience nausea and vomiting.

“Most healthy adults recover from the flu within a week to 10 days,” said Sean Chai-Chong, manager of Outpatient Pharmacy at Providence.

“While you will feel terrible, you’ll likely get back to your normal self without any complications. But older adults, people with chronic health issues, and children are at a higher risk for hospitalization.”

The most effective prevention is the flu shot.

“We ask people to think about who they want to protect – maybe their children or an older parent – when considering the flu shot. It’s the best way to protect yourself and those you love from the virus,” said Chai-Chong.

He also explained how the flu shot works. “The vaccine inserts an inactivated strain of flu into your body. The body then produces antibodies that will protect itself against the real flu virus.

“You may feel some mild symptoms a few days after receiving the vaccine – that’s your body reacting to the inactivated strain. It certainly won’t affect you the same way contracting the flu will.”

Generally, the vaccine is 70 to 90 per cent effective in healthy individuals. In the elderly, young people and people with weak immune systems, its effectiveness is closer to 40 per cent.

The flu vaccines are expected to arrive in late October. Most pharmacies – including Providence – offer the flu shot free-of-charge for people with valid Health Cards. You can visit our pharmacy at 3276 St. Clair Ave. East from 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. on weekdays or 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays. We offer free parking for up to 30 minutes.

About the writer:

Emily Dawson is the senior communications advisor at Providence Healthcare.

She can be reached at

Providence Healthcare is a leader in providing rehabilitation, palliative care, long-term care and community programs in Toronto. Providence is part of a health network with St. Joseph’s Health Centre and St. Michael’s Hospital. Visit us at or call 416-285-3744.