TIMMINS – Officials at the Porcupine Health Unit say educating the public about what the flu is and how to know if you have it is half the battle when it comes to encouraging people to get their shot.

"Do you think it's vomiting, diarrhea… yeah, kids can sometimes get that, but that's not the classic symptoms of influenza. So it's doing education, making sure that parents are informed or just anybody is informed about what the flue is and about vaccines, making sure they know they're safe," said Megan Touchette, Porcupine Health Unit.

Each year's vaccine is manufactured based on the World Health Organization's recommendations of which flu virus strains should be payed attention to.

Touchette says while some people may experience mild side effects like muscle soreness or a light fever, it's worth it for up to a year-long protection from those virus strains.

She says even those who don't normally get sick can be carriers and should still get their shot to protect more vulnerable people like babies and the elderly.

Statistics from the Ontario government say over 12,000 Canadians are hospitalized and over 3,500 die from the flu each year.

The Porcupine Health Unit says people should start booking appointments to get their shot as soon as possible, and can do so at their clinics online or over the phone.

The health unit also says those with egg allergies shouldn't worry about getting egg-based vaccines, since only minuscule amount end up in the shot.