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Canadian Champion (Milton, ON), 21 Nov 2019, p. 10

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= I OPINION 2 I EDITORIAL 'HELP YOURSELF AND THE HEALTH SYSTEM - GET A FLU SHOT * If you have had the experience of going to a hospi- 3 tal in southern Ontario recently, especially if you s entered through the emergency ward, there is a good e chance you experienced first-hand what it's .ike when 5 hospitals are stretched to the limit. ERs are jammed. Corridors can be lined with beds occupied by people waiting for a bed. Harried staff do the best they can, and they nearly always do a good job, but they, too, are stretched to the limit. You may have waited hours in the ER, you may have received hallway health care. You have or are experiencing what it's like in one of many Ontario hospitals that are operating at more than 100 per cent capacity. Now try to imagine what it could be like when thousands of Ontarians, stricken by the flu, flock to ERs for treatment. Try to imagine the incremental strain on staff and facilities. Imagine the impact on already overburdened ambulance and paramedic care. This isn't fear mongering. It's a real threat. Average citizens cannot fix what's wrong with Ontario hospitals. But what if there was something you could do to reduce - by as much as half - your chances of ending up in a jammed ER or hospital cor- ridor? 4 There is, and it's not hard. It won't cost you any money. It's free. All you have to do is go to a pharmacy, your doctor's office, a public clinic or another loca- tion that administers flu shots. Simply by doing that, you will be reducing by 50 per cent the chance of catching the flu. Add in good hygiene - following prop- er handwashing guidelines, for example - and you can reduce your chances even more. Given all this, and the unpleasant alternatives, you might think the majority of sensible Canadians would get vaccinated against the flu. You'd be wrong. Ex- perts say only about one-third of Canadians get flu shots. If you're among the two-thirds who don't, you're part of the problem. Why don't more people get flu shots? In part, it's the fictitious scare tactics of the anti-vaxxer move- ment. In part, it's that the vaccine can sometimes cause you to feel ill, although not nearly as ill as if you got the real thing. But yes, sometimes side effects like fever and chills do happen as your body begins to make antibodies to ward off the bug. Some say no because they think they can actually catch the flu from the vaccination. You can't. The vaccine has no live flu virus component - you cannot get the flu from the flu vaccine. Public health officials say this year's vaccine is deemed to be about 50 per cent effective. It's not per- fect, but is better than other recent years. And more importantly, it's the best chance you have of avoiding the flu virus. It makes no sense - absolutely none - to say no to a flu shot. It's actually irresponsible given the critical situation in public health. Be part of the solution, not the problem. Novembe Champion | Thursday an com » TO LEARN HOW TO SUBMIT YOUR OWN CONTENT VISIT INSIDEHALTON.COM SNAPSHOT -- Donald Clements photo A fox catches some rays outside a home near Rattlesnake Point Conservation Area. Got a great local photo you'd like to share? Send it to PROTECT YOUR FAMILY THIS WINTER HERE ARE SOME TIPS TO KEEP YOUR HOME SAFE, WRITES FOSTER KEVIN FOSTER Column Well now, that was a rel- atively quick transition from autumn right into winter. It's quite a shock toone's routine when the seasons change almost overnight. With winter also comes in- creased risk of home fires, injuries and fatalities. Are you planning to have a home fire this win- ter? It may seem like a silly question to ask. Sadly, it WILL happen. I hope that it doesn't happen to you, but many people will have an unplanned fire in their home this winter season. Take a moment to think about how quickly your life would change if you had a home fire. It doesn't always happen to someone else. : This winter, = make sound decisions to protect yourself and those you care about most. Winter storms cause dangerous and often treacherous con- ditions resulting in icy roads, broken power lines, drifting snow and extreme- ly cold temperatures. With that, there is an in- crease in home fires caused by heating equip- ment, candles, cooking and misuse of electrical equip- ment. Now is the time to take action before it happens to you. The fire service has spent countless hours reaching out to inform members of our communi- ties about the hazards and sources of home fires, en- couraging you to have working smoke alarms for early detection and an es- cape plan ready to be able to get out safely. We, and many other safety organizations, have been educating you on the impact of alcohol and drugs when doing higher risk tasks such as driving and cooking. We are doing our part, now it is up to' you. This is your call to ac- tion. If you are unsure of what to do to improve fire and injury prevention in your home and daily activ- ities, there are numerous online resources that you can access from the com- fort of your home. A great place to start is at the Mil- ton Fire Department's website: You can also Google the National Fire Protection Association to find helpful resources. I wish everyone a safe and enjoyable winter. Kevin Foster is the act- ing chief of the Milton Fire Department SIGN UP FOR OUR WEEKLY NEWSLETTER AT INSIDEHALTON.COM ABOUT US This newspaper, published every Thursday, is a division of the Metroland Media Group Ltd., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Torstar Corporation. The Metroland family of newspapers is comprised of more than 80 community publications across Ontario. This newspaper is a member of the National NewsMedia Council. Complainants are urged to bring their concems to the attention of the news- paper and, if not satisfied, write The National News Media Council, Suite 200, 890 Yonge St., Toronto, ON M4W 2H2. Phone: 416-340-1981 Web: nnc )ocna Nuon] Counc MiltonCanadianChampion @Milton_Champion WHO WE ARE VP, Regional Publisher Kelly Montague Reglonal Managing Editor Catherine O'Hara Managing Editor Karen Miceli Director Distribution Charlene Hall Circulation Manager Kim Mossman Director of Production Mark Dills Regional Production Manager Manny Garcia Regional General Manager Steve Foreman Halton Media General Manager Vicki Dillane CONTACT US Milton Canadian Champion 901 Guelph Line Burlington, ON L7R 3N8 Phone: 289-293-0615 Classifieds: 1-800-263-6480 Digital/Flyer/ Retail: 289-293-0624 Letters to the editor All letters must be fewer than 320 words and include your name and telephone number for verification purposes. We reserve the right to edit, condense or reject letters. Published letters will appear in print and/or online at Delivery For all delivery inquiries, please e-mail or call 905-631-6095. Accrédité FOSAS Accredited

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