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Feeling like crap is the best…said no one ever. So here’s where to get the flu shot

by | Oct 29, 2020 | Prevention | 0 comments

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How are the next 10 days shaping up? Maybe you’re working hard (or hardly working). It could be you’ve got some family fun planned. Perhaps there’s a poker night in the cards or an afternoon of ball-watching (or ball throwing) with your buds. And whatever you do, don’t forget about date night with your significant other!

Sounds pretty sweet. Now, imagine spending those 10 days flat on your back in bed (and not in a good way with your significant other). You’re feverish, coughing, stuffed up, and your head and body ache like mad. In short, you’ve got the flu, which typically takes anywhere from seven to 10 days to go away.

The good news: there’s a quick, safe, easy and free way to prevent the flu and its nasty fallout. As you probably already know, it’s called the flu shot. It’s recommended for every guy in Canada because it’s proven to reduce the number of doctor visits, hospitalizations, and even deaths related to the flu. The shot is different each year because the flu virus changes frequently, so you need to get it EVERY FALL.

Why get the flu shot?

If you think taking a few minutes to get the shot is a pain in the butt, consider the alternative: potentially being out of action for WEEKS should you catch the flu. The Man Flu is REAL! Flu prevention is where it’s at. Plus, passing the illness on to people with a higher risk for COVID-19 like seniors, pregnant women, and people with existing health conditions, can pose a serious health risk.

Right now, it’s not known if you can have the flu and COVID-19 at the same time. However, there is some overlap between high-risk people for the flu and those susceptible to COVID-19. Plus, waiting to find out if you have COVID or the flu is both nerve-wracking and a pain-in-the-butt (since you’re stuck at home for at least a couple of days).

Is the flu shot safe?

Despite what you might have read on various panicky “anti-vaxxer” websites, all flu vaccines are subject to Health Canada’s very strict requirements. Every batch is tested for safety and quality before it is used and is then closely monitored for side effects once it starts to be administered. By the way, serious side effects are extremely rare, with the most common side effect being mild soreness where you get the injection. Mild soreness vs. being down for the count for 10 days? It’s a no-brainer! 

Should kids get the flu shot?

Ensuring your kids get the flu shot reduces the risk of infection and health complications if they do end up with the flu. As some children may freak out at the sight of a needle, the vaccine is available as a nasal spray to kids between 2 and 17. Talk to your doctor or nurse practitioner to find out more.

How long does the flu shot take to work?

If you’ve decided to get the flu shot this year — great call, by the way — there’s no time like the present. After all, flu season typically runs from late fall to early spring, and the shot takes two weeks to take effect.

Where to get the flu shot…

Quick! Name something Canada has in abundance. If you said, “beavers” (the animal), pat yourself on the back. If “maple syrup” was your reply, well played!

It would be surprising if you said, “places to get the flu shot,” but you would be 100-percent correct there as well. No matter where you live or how busy you are, there’s bound to be a nearby spot to get the quick shot, which is free for most Canadians.

In Alberta
  • At one of 63 AHS Public Immunization Clinics.
  • Through many family doctors or nurse practitioners.
  • At participating pharmacies such as Shoppers Drug Mart, Rexall, Value Drug Mart, and Safeway.
  • Make sure to call ahead and book an appointment. You need to make an appointment everywhere, including pharmacies, thanks to COVID-19.
  • More info here.
In British Columbia
  • At one of 134 Public Health Clinics.
  • Through many family doctors and nurse practitioners.
  • At participating pharmacies such as Shoppers Drug Mart, Safeway, London Drugs, and Pharmasave.
  • Make sure to call ahead and book an appointment. You need to make an appointment everywhere, including pharmacies, thanks to COVID-19.
  • More info here.
In Manitoba
  • At public health offices, ACCESS Centres, and immunization clinics. 
  • Through many family doctors and nurse practitioners.
  • At participating pharmacies such as Shoppers Drug Mart, Sobeys, Rexall, and Walmart.
  • Make sure to call ahead and book an appointment. You need to make an appointment everywhere, including pharmacies, thanks to COVID-19.
  • More info here.

In New Brunswick
  • At Public Health Offices.
  • Through many family doctors and nurse practitioners.
  • At participating pharmacies such as Shoppers Drug Mart, Familiprix, Pharmasave, and Costco.
  • Make sure to call ahead and book an appointment. You need to make an appointment everywhere, including pharmacies, thanks to COVID-19.
  • More info here.
In Newfoundland and Labrador
  • At Influenza Vaccination Clinics.
  • Through many family doctors and nurse practitioners.
  • At participating pharmacies such as Shoppers Drug Mart, Rexall, Walmart, and Costco.
  • Make sure to call ahead and book an appointment. You need to make an appointment everywhere, including pharmacies, thanks to COVID-19.
  • More info here.
In Northwest Territories
  • At dozens of Walk-In Flu Clinics in 30 communities.
  • Through many family doctors and nurse practitioners.
  • Make sure to call ahead and book an appointment. You need to make an appointment everywhere, thanks to COVID-19.
  • More info here.
In Nova Scotia
  • At walk-in clinics and public health offices.
  • Through many family doctors and nurse practitioners.
  • At participating pharmacies such as Shoppers Drug Mart, Rexall, Walmart, and Costco.
  • Make sure to call ahead and book an appointment. You need to make an appointment everywhere, including pharmacies, thanks to COVID-19.
  • More info here.
In Nunavut
  • At 13 public health centres.
  • Make sure to call ahead and book an appointment. You need to make an appointment everywhere, thanks to COVID-19.
  • More info here.
In Ontario
  • Through many family doctors or nurse practitioners.
  • At some of the province’s 50 Public Health Units.
  • At participating pharmacies such as Shoppers Drug Mart, Costco, Guardian, IDA, and Loblaws.
  • Make sure to call ahead and book an appointment. You need to make an appointment everywhere, including pharmacies, thanks to COVID-19.
  • More info here.
In Prince Edward Island
  • At all Health PEI Public Health Nursing offices.
  • Through many family doctors or nurse practitioners.
  • At participating pharmacies such as Shoppers Drug Mart, Rexall, and Walmart.
  • Make sure to call ahead and book an appointment. You need to make an appointment everywhere, including pharmacies, thanks to COVID-19.
  • More info here.
In Quebec
  • At integrated health and social services centres or integrated university health and social services centres.
  • Through many family doctors or nurse practitioners.
  • At participating pharmacies such as Jean Coutu, Pharmaprix, Familiprix, and Brunet.
  • Make sure to call ahead and book an appointment. You need to make an appointment everywhere, including pharmacies, thanks to COVID-19.
  • More info here.
In Saskatchewan
  • At public health clinics.
  • Through many family doctors or nurse practitioners.
  • At participating pharmacies such as Shoppers Drug Mart, Rexall, Walmart, and Safeway.
  • Make sure to call ahead and book an appointment. You need to make an appointment everywhere, including pharmacies, thanks to COVID-19.
  • More info here.
In Yukon
  • At Public Clinics in 15 communities.
  • Through many family doctors or nurse practitioners.
  • Make sure to call ahead and book an appointment. You need to make an appointment everywhere, thanks to COVID-19.
  • More info here.

Heads up! Just to be on the safe side, be sure to call ahead to book a spot and make sure it’s free of charge at any of the providers listed above.

Other ways to prevent the flu

Wash your hands like you’re about to perform open-heart surgery: Thanks to COVID, we are all likely a little sick of hearing about hand washing, so not much needs to be said about it. Keeping your hands clean can help prevent all kinds of germy nastiness from infecting your body, so it’s good practice to remember to wash your hands throughout the day. It is especially important anytime you come home from being out.

Get the *cough* away from me: This should go without saying but cover your mouth when you cough. If you’re out in public with a cough, you should be wearing a mask anyways because of COVID-19. If you openly cough in public these days, get ready for some fearful side-eye. Coughing is not a socially acceptable public practice in 2020. If you see someone coughing close to you, don’t feel bad about running away. Just get out of there, stat!

Get the shot, and say “f*ck you!” to the flu.

Got any sneaky tips for avoiding illness over the winter? Help out your fellow guys by sharing them in the comments below!

This article was originally published on January 9, 2020.

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Adam Bisby
Adam Bisby

Adam Bisby is a Toronto-based freelance journalist and father of two. He’s been covering men’s health for over 20 years. As well as researching and blogging for Don’t Change Much since 2015, Adam’s award-winning work has appeared in the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, and National Post newspapers.

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