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Boggio Family of Pharmacies

Boggios: A healthy choice for your whole life

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The most effective way of protecting yourself from the flu is by getting the flu shot each year. A new vaccine is developed annually based on the three strains of influenza which are predicted to be the most prevalent that year. The vaccine works by introducing a small amount of inactivated influenza virus into our body allowing our immune system to build an army of antibodies to the virus. If we are then exposed to the live virus, our immune system sends the antibodies to “attack” the foreign invader, preventing an infection from developing.
Unfortunately, sometimes the unexpected happens, as was the case this flu season. The influenza strain that ended up being the most widespread this year was not one of the three strains contained in the vaccine, so there were many cases of people getting sick – even those who did get vaccinated. Naturally, people are concerned about the effectiveness of the flu shot and have doubts about whether they should get the vaccine again.

Here are some points to consider when making your decision to get immunized next flu season:

1. Extensive research is done each year to make the decision about which three strains will be included in the vaccine. Generally, the predictions are very accurate and the vaccine prevents many thousands of people from becoming ill each year. However, we need to remember that the annual flu vaccine does not protect against all strains of the influenza virus, so there is a chance that someone could become infected with another strain.

2. We need to understand that what happened this year was unusual. This season, the virus essentially ‘outsmarted’ us. It was determined that the main viral strain mutated, leaving the vaccine less effective than expected. This mutation meant that the virus changed in such a way that the antibodies our immune system had developed after receiving the vaccine, were not able to mount a very effective response to infection by the live virus.

3. The flu vaccine CANNOT give you the flu. The components of the vaccine are inactivated influenza viral particles – meaning only pieces of the killed virus are present and are not able to cause infection.

4. Immunity from the flu shot is not immediate. It takes about 14 days for our immune system to develop antibodies to the strains contained in the vaccine. During this lag period, it is possible to develop an infection if contact with the virus occurs during the first two weeks after vaccination.

5. It is recommended that everyone over the age of 6 months be immunized each year. Not only can it protect you from becoming very sick, but it can help to protect those around you, by reducing the spread of the virus. Furthermore, if you do come down with the flu after receiving the vaccination, the infection will likely be less severe and may not last as long.

6. Vaccines – including the flu vaccine – do NOT cause developmental disorders like autism. People have become very concerned with the idea that thimerosal (a preservative used in some vaccines) is linked to the development of autism in children, but there is no evidence of this being true. However, there are flu vaccines available that do not contain thimerosal if you still have concerns.

6. It is beneficial to get the flu shot at any point during flu season; not only at the beginning. Also, it is a good idea to get vaccinated even if you have already had the flu that season as the infection may have been caused by a different strain.

Although the flu vaccine is the most important form of protection from the flu virus, people must remember that hand hygiene is also a key component to preventing the spread of infection. Washing hands thoroughly and often, using hand sanitizer when washing is not possible, and staying home if you have flu-like symptoms to avoid spreading the virus to others.
Influenza can be a serious illness for many people, especially children, the elderly and those who are immunocompromised, but the flu vaccine is important for everyone. It helps to protect yourself and those around you from potentially becoming very ill. If you have more questions about the flu vaccine, please talk to your pharmacist.


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Spring is just around the corner. It’s a time of new life – not only for the plants and animals – but for you too! It is the perfect time of year to make a few simple changes to your daily routine in order to get your heart into great shape, so you’ll have a spring in your step for many years to come!

Our heart is like the engine of our body. Without fuel, it will not work; without maintenance and regular use, it will not function properly; and if you look after it, it will last for many years without the need for repair.
The fuel for our heart is the food we consume. Healthier food choices will result in a healthier, stronger heart.
Here are five easy ways to improve your diet:

  1. Cook with less fat – Steam, bake, broil, or grill meat, poultry or fish instead of frying.

  2. Eat more vegetables and fruit – Add them wherever you can: soups, sauces, stews. Fresh, frozen or canned are all healthy choices.

  3. Use less salt – Try to avoid adding salt when cooking and always taste your food before shaking the salt over it. Try flavouring your food with herbs, spices, garlic, or lemon juice instead.

  4. Cook with more whole grains – Use brown rice, whole wheat flour, and whole wheat pasta in recipes where you would normally use the white version. Also, instead of quick oats, use whole rolled oats as they are the healthier option.

  5. Don’t miss out on fibre – Eat the peel with the apple or the skin of a baked potato for extra fibre as long as they are washed. You could also add rinsed, canned beans to recipes for a fibre boost!

Daily physical activity is the regular use that your heart needs to continue functioning properly. According to Canada’s Physical Activity Guidelines, adults 18-64 should be doing a total of at least 150 minutes of aerobic activity each week. Aim for about 30 minutes of exercise on most days of the week. Activities may include brisk walking, bike riding, dancing, or jogging. The best way to get started is to incorporate physical activity into your daily routine. Take the dog for a brisk walk around the block, spend a day at the park with the family on the weekend, do some gardening, or maybe join a dance class and make some new friends too!

Along with a well-balanced diet and daily physical activity, your heart needs a check-up every once in a while. Your doctor can check your weight, blood pressure, cholesterol levels and blood sugar during an appointment to see that your heart is in good working order and may make recommendations to you based on the results.

Drinking too much alcohol, smoking and high levels of stress can also have negative effects on the heart. If you drink alcohol, limit yourself to no more than two drinks a day for women or three drinks a day for men. If you are a smoker, the sooner you become smoke-free, the sooner your body will recover. Talk to your pharmacist about ways to kick the habit. Everyone experiences the feeling of being stressed at some point or another, but the key is how you handle it. It may be as simple as taking a few deep breaths for some people, while others may do daily meditation or practice yoga to remain stress-free. Taking time for yourself each day to do something you enjoy is another way of keeping your stress level to a minimum. Find a new hobby, activity or project that you might enjoy doing either on your own or with friends.

Many people will already be doing one or more of these things to look after their hearts, and that is great, but if this all seems a bit daunting, don’t worry because of course, you do not have to make all of these changes at once! Decide to make one change this month and maybe add another next month. Before long, you’ll be right on track to keeping your mind, body and heart happy and healthy.

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Boggio’s Family of Pharmacies has locations in Port Colborne, Ridgeway, Niagara Falls and Fonthill. Committed to serving the health needs of the community with in the Niagara Region. Much more then a drug store, we offer home delivery, photo finishing, home health care, beauty and make up, lottery, giftware and postal service at some locations. We also offer specialty services such as Compounding and prescription refills are available online and in store. We carry the Rexall brand and are an IDA drug store.

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