The flu season has arrived and the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit (HNHU) would like to remind everyone that the flu shot is the best protection against getting the influenza virus.

Anyone can get the flu, but it is particularly dangerous for the elderly, for children and for those with compromised immune systems. Symptoms include cough, fever, body aches and extreme exhaustion. This can be accompanied by nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

The flu spreads from an infected person through coughing or sneezing. The virus can live on hard surfaces for several hours and can be spread from surfaces such as toys and door knobs that an infected person has touched recently.

The flu shot is the best protection against getting the flu. Those seeking the shot should contact their family doctor, visit a local pharmacy or call the HNHU at 519-426-6170 or 905-318-6623 to make an appointment for the free flu shot.

It takes two weeks before you get maximum protection from the flu shot, so the sooner you get vaccinated, the better,” said Dr. Shanker Nesathurai, medical officer of health for the HNHU.

In addition to the flu shot, other ways to reduce your risk include frequent hand washing, coughing or sneezing into your sleeve rather than your hand and staying home from work or school when you or your child are ill. 

It is especially important for those who are ill to avoid coming into contact with those in hospitals or long-term care facilities, as they are more likely to have weaker immune systems.

For more information about the influenza virus and the flu shot, visit