Don’t go with the flu Vaccine available at Ski Swap It’s that time of year when virulent flu viruses like A Sydney, A Beijing and B Harbin are sweeping around the globe, gathering momentum and waiting to get into your system. As much as 40 per cent of the population could be laid low by the strains of influenza and the fever, soar throats, coughing and aching muscles can lead to even more serious illness like pneumonia. The flu virus is transmitted from infected people by tiny respiratory droplets created by talking, coughing and sneezing. Infected people are most contagious during the first 48 hours of illness. So it’s also that time of year for the flu vaccination. A flu shot offers up to 70 per cent protection against the strains of influenza currently in circulation. The vaccine is made with influenza viruses grown in eggs and then inactivated. Because the flu vaccine contains only killed viruses the immunization does not lead to actual infection. Instead it works by causing the immune system to make antibodies. The most common side-effect is localised soreness at the site of injection and between one and two per cent of adults experience temporary fever and muscle aches. The Coast Garibaldi Community Health Service is offering free flu vaccines for seniors or people who are high risk on Nov. 2 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. "High risk" includes people who are unwell at times because of a chronic illness such as lung disease, heart disease, diabetes, anemia or other diseases that weaken the immune system. If you do not fall in to the high risk category you can get your flu shot through the Travel Medication & Vaccination Centre. the TMVC will be holding a drop-in flu vaccination clinic at the Whistler Mountain Ski Club Ski Swap on the weekend (Oct. 10 and 11) for the forth year in a row. There will be an information booth set up inside the ski swap tent, by the Blackcomb day lodge, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The price is $15 per person. For further information contact Marilyn McIvor at the Health Unit on 932-3202 or the TMVC toll-free at 1-888-288-8682.