Are you getting a flu shot this year?

Flu season will soon be upon us, since in Quebec it generally runs from December to March or April. After being infected with the virus, a person may be contagious for up to 24 hours before symptoms begin to appear, as well as up to 7 days after symptoms begin (in the case of children, this could be even longer). Most people in good health can get over the flu by themselves, but certain people (such as young children and older populations, as well as people with chronic diseases) are at risk of developing complications from the illness. The influenza vaccine, also known as the flu shot, is an annual vaccine that is given to protect individuals against a highly-contagious respiratory infection which can be caused by the influenza virus and can spread very easily.

Anyone who wants to reduce their risk of catching the flu this year should be vaccinated. It is also highly recommended that people who are at greater risk of complications due to their age or health – children between the ages of 6 and 23 months, people with certain chronic diseases such as heart, lung or kidney disease, diabetes, major obesity, cancer, asthma or a weakened immune system, pregnant women (2nd & 3rd term), people aged 60 and older – receive the vaccine. The vaccine is offered at no charge to these persons, and anyone else can be vaccinated for a small cost.

Many of the local CSSS (Centre de santé et services sociaux) institutions have advertised information in the English media that indicates where and when you can be vaccinated in your area of the Townships. You may also call your local CLSC for more information or visit their websites. In addition to this, you can also call Townshippers’ Association’s Information & Referral service at 819-566-2182 (toll free: 1-877-566-2182) for more information about where and when you can get vaccinated this fall.

Remember! To help avoid getting the flu, keep your hands clean and try to avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, since they are gateways for infection. These simple steps might just help you avoid illness this winter.

Are you having problems sleeping at night?

Were you aware that insomnia and obstructive sleep apnea are the two most common sleep disorders? Did you know that, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada, 26% of adults report having symptoms and risk factors associated with a high risk of having or developing obstructive sleep apnea? If you would like to learn more about the age-related features of normal sleep, find out how to reduce the impacts of insomnia on daytime functioning or simply need more information about sleep apnea and the treatments that are available, join us for a special Telehealth video conference session on Sleep Disorders.

The Sleep Disorders session will be held on November 9, 2011, between 10 a.m. and noon at the Memphremagog CLC. Marie Letourneau, a Nurse Specialist of the Royal Victoria Hospital who currently works at the sleep disorder clinic, will be the guest speaker.

The session is intended for everyone – community members, caregivers and professionals interested in learning more about this important topic. In the Estrie, the CLC is located at the Princess Elizabeth School, 120 Bellevue Street West in Magog. For more information, please call Townshippers’ Association at 819-566-5717 (toll free: 1-866-566-5717) or e-mail [email protected]

If you are in the Montérégie-East, the session will also be presented at Massey Vanier High School, located at 224 Mercier street in Cowansville. The presentation will take place in room 507 of the administration building. For more information, contact Kate Murray or Lindsay Tuer at 450-242-4421 (toll free: 1-877-242-4421).