As our Flu Campaign moves forward, we want to address some myths associated with the flu vaccine, and how to stay healthy this flu season. (Video: UHNToronto YouTube)

​This year's Flu Campaign is ending in just over a week, on Nov. 13. Have you received your flu shot yet?

The flu vaccine is one component of a wellness strategy that will help protect yourself, your family and our patients from the influenza virus this year.

To better understand the full wellness strategy to staying healthy this flu season, we sat down with UHN's Director of Infection Prevention and Control, Dr. Michael Gardam.

"The wellness strategy includes the flu vaccine, in addition to other things. It also includes looking after yourself in terms of sleep, nutrition, exercise and stress reduction," explains Dr. Gardam.

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The Wellness Strategy​

​​Dr. Gardam's wellness strategy list starts with the flu vaccine, and then evolves into generally maintaining a healthy lifestyle and being vigilant around our patients.

To keep yourself healthy this flu season, Dr. Gardam advises you do the following:

  1. Get your flu shot for the year
  2. Wash your hands regularly
  3. Get enough sleep every night
  4. Commit to a balanced and nutritious diet
  5. Exercise frequently
  6. Practice stress reduction exercises
  7. When dealing with patients, wear the necessary personal protective equipment such as surgical masks, goggles, gowns and gloves

Clearing up common myths

There are some myths associated with the flu vaccine:

 Myth 1: "If I receive the flu vaccine, I'm going to get the flu."

  Fact: This is not true at all, and not possible. The viruses in the vaccine are inactive and cannot cause influenza.

  Myth 2: "The flu vaccine is going to weaken my immune system."

  ​Fact: This is also false. Vaccines do the opposite. They prepare your immune system to react and protect against what is in the vaccine.  In fact, we strongly encourage those who are most at risk of getting the flu virus to get vaccinated.

​ Those most at risk include adults age 65 and over, residents of long-term care facilities, pregnant women, children under the age of five, people who are obese, people who are immune-compromised and people with chronic medical conditions including asthma, heart disease, and diabetes, among others.

"Looking after yourself in the very basic terms is important to protect yourself from the flu. Getting your flu shot is a part of this protection," explains Dr. Gardam.

He adds that those who lead a healthy lifestyle and get the flu vaccine can still catch the flu, but they tend not to get as sick.

Your flu vaccine is helping children around the world

Getting your flu vaccine this year protects more than just your family, our patients and our community. It also benefits children around the world.

UHN is collaborating with UNICEF Canada again this flu season to expand our global outreach.

For every flu shot a UHN staff member receives, UHN will donate one essential vaccine to a child in a developing country.

And for every 50 flu shots UHN gives out, we'll donate a five-month supply of clean water to a child and their family.

Don't forget! There are weekly prizes and an iPad up for grabs

There are two big contests taking place this year, with two rounds of winners already announced for one of them.

Contest one

Prize: iPad

To participate in this contest, take a selfie of yourself receiving the flu shot, tweet it using the hashtag #EveryFluShotCounts and tag @UHN_News. The winner will be announced at the end of the campaign.

If you don't have Twitter, you can enter the contest by e-mailing the photo to social@uhn.ca and we'll tweet your selfie for you!

Contest two

Weekly prizes: Cadillac Fairview gift cards

After receiving your flu shot at the flu cart, you can complete a flu draw form.

This enters you in a weekly random draw for gift cards to shopping centers such as Sherway, Fairview, Yorkdale, Don Mills and Square One.

The weekly winners are announced every Monday throughout the campaign.

Let's make every shot count, UHN.

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