Game of Thrones style iron throne replica at Michael Garron Hospital.

Flu season is coming. Here’s how to prepare in East York

Staff at Michael Garron Hospital have turned to Game of Thrones to encourage staff vaccinations

Flu season is not a game, even if get your shot while sitting on a throne.

Inspired by the popular HBO series Game of Thrones, staff at Michael Garron Hospital in East York made their own iron throne to sit in while they get their flu shot.

It’s part of this year’s staff influenza-vaccination campaign. Jeff Powis, infectious diseases physician at Michael Garron Hospital (and Game of Thrones fan), suggested replicating the iconic furniture. A trip to the dollar store yielded a regular lawn chair, which was transformed into the hospital’s throne.

While the prop is primarily for hospital staff, visitors have also shown an interest in it. Expanding the campaign to include patients in future years may be an option, Powis said.

“Sometimes making medical procedures into more of a game or making it more fun for kids can increase their adherence or their ability to tolerate certain procedures,” he said.

This year’s flu season

Powis uses flu-shot data for the southern hemisphere to anticipate influenza activity for the north. If it’s a busy season in the south, it’s usually the same for the north. He says the southern hemisphere experienced a busier flu season this year than it has in the past five years. The most prominent strain was the H3N2 virus.

According to Vinita Dubey, spokesperson for Toronto Public Health (TPH), flu activity usually begins around November or December.

Dubey recommends that children from six months to 17 years of age receive the quadrivalent vaccination. The trivalent shot, which is available to adults, contains protection against three stains of the influenza virus. The quadrivalent protects against four.

Children from two to 17 years can choose to receive the vaccination as a needle or a FluMist nasal spray, Dubey said. Even though the nasal spray, or live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV), is not recommended in the U.S., it is still considered an effective option in Canada.

Locations in East York where the flu show it available. Information provided by Ontario.ca.

The LAIV is not available at pharmacies, only at TPH clinics and doctor’s offices.  In East York, there are TPH clinics on Danforth Avenue east of Broadview and  at the corner of Coxwell and Memorial Park avenues.