Stittsville pharmacist shares advice on staying healthy this flu season

(Stan Tsykov is a Pharmacist and the owner of your local Shoppers Drug Mart at 1300 Stittsville Main Street. Stittsville Central is pleased to share his expertise in health matters.)

The cold weather is arriving, and with it, comes another flu season. Whenever we approach flu season in Canada, we often look to Australia as their season could be an indicator for us. Unfortunately, the signs are pointing to a tough season ahead for Canadians with Australia not only having an early start to flu season, but also having concerningly high hospitalization rates for children this season.

Because of this, I’m reminding our community of the importance of preventive health measures as we head into a potentially challenging flu season. With children ages 5-10 making up a high proportion of children being hospitalized with the flu in Australia to date, it’s important that we take any precautions we can to prevent the spread of the flu and keep our most vulnerable community members safe. As your Stittsville pharmacist, here are a few tips for preventing illness this flu season.

Sleeves up! Thankfully vaccination is one sure way to protect children against the flu. One of the most effective ways to protect yourself and your loved ones this season is by getting your annual flu shot. Flu vaccines can be lifesaving for children, significantly reducing their risk of flu-related death and also reducing risk of severe, life-threatening influenza by up to 75%.1, 2  Influenza immunity wanes from year to year, so even if you got the flu shot last year, it is important to get vaccinated again for continued protection.3 You can book your flu shot appointment at or through the PC Health app, available to download for free at

Keep your hands, and germs, to yourself: Unfortunately, some of us may still get sick despite the preventative measures we’re taking. If you find yourself with symptoms of the flu or COVID-19, it’s important to be cautious with who you are seeing and where you are going. While an illness may feel like a small cold to you, touching your friend’s baby during flu season could be a fatal mistake. It can be tempting to power through feeling sick, but this ultimately puts others at risk. Stay home and isolate while you are feeling under the weather to prevent the spread of illness. The vulnerable members of your community, workplace, or family will appreciate it.

Time to get a boost: Early signs suggest that this fall we may be not only combating the flu, but also another COVID-19 wave. With waning immunity, it’s recommended that this fall, Canadians should get another COVID-19 vaccine booster if it’s been at least six months since their last dose, or COVID infection. This booster is particularly important for those at increased risk of COVID-19 which included people 65+, long-term care residents, those with underlying medical conditions, pregnant people, First Nations, Métis and Init communities, people who are racialized, and those who provide essential community services. You can book your COVID-19 vaccine appointment at or through the PC Health app.

Be sure to visit your local pharmacy to get your flu shot this season. Your pharmacist is here to answer any questions you have on the vaccine, or additional tips on reducing the spread of flu.

Stan Tsykov is a pharmacist and owner of your local Shoppers Drug Mart in Stittsville. Visit to find your nearest store.

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