Pharmacist’s tips on preventing illness this winter

Fending off illness

The past two years have been fraught with talk of viruses and vaccines.

Between COVID-19 and the flu, there has not only been a lot of conversation around the concerns of getting ill, but also around the best ways we can protect ourselves and our loved ones. It’s important we take any precautions we can to prevent the spread of flu and COVID-19 this winter. As a pharmacist, I’m sharing a few tips for preventing illness.

• Protect yourself from COVID-19. You can get a flu shot and a COVID-19 vaccine or booster in the same sitting for twice the convenience. As per current NACI guidelines, it is safe to get both vaccines during one appointment, making it easy to protect yourself against both viruses at the same time.

According to Health Canada, for best protection against COVID-19, it's important to stay up to date with recommended COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters, even if you’ve been previously infected with COVID-19.

According to the Government of Canada, if your last dose was more than nine months ago, you are no longer considered adequately vaccinated. If you have any questions regarding vaccines, make sure to speak to a healthcare practitioner, like your local pharmacist or family physician.

To book an appointment, register with the provincial Get Vaccination system at www.getvaccinated.gov.bc.ca/s/.

• Keep your hands clean. Washing your hands frequently and thoroughly is one of the most effective ways to reduce the spread of infections and germs.

Keeping hand sanitizer handy for moments when soap and water aren’t on-hand is a great back up option. Having alcohol-based hand cleansers as a backup, whether in your bag, at your desk or in your car, can help to protect yourself and others from germs.

• Wear your mask. Wearing a mask covering your nose and mouth is a simple yet effective way to block the spread of germs, particularly in enclosed public spaces. If you are looking for extra protection, give yourself peace of mind and wear your mask.

Due to of lack of exposure to (seasonal) illness in recent years, it is important we take the steps to protect ourselves and our loved ones this season.

Be sure to visit your local pharmacy to get your flu shot and your COVID-19 vaccine— it’s our best shot at protecting our communities this season.

Nathan Klaassen is a pharmacist and owner of your local Shoppers Drug Mart in Kelowna. Visit ShoppersDrugMart.ca to find your nearest store.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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