Winter is coming – and with winter comes influenza season. Protect yourself and your loved ones against the flu by getting your flu shot and preventing the spread of germs.
The flu shot is available through your pharmacist, health-care provider, First Nations community health nurses, or your local health unit. Interior Health (IH) immunization clinics will begin the week of Nov. 1 and will continue in communities throughout the month.
To find an influenza clinic or provider near you, see the ad on page 13.
“It’s especially important to get vaccinated if you have loved ones that are at increased risk of complications from influenza,” said Dr. Silvina Mema, IH Medical Health Officer.
The flu shot is free for the following people:
• People 65 years and older and their caregivers/household contacts;
• People of any age in long-term care facilities;
• Children and adults with chronic health conditions and their household contacts;
• Children and adults who are obese;
• Aboriginal people;
• Household contacts and caregivers of infants and children from birth to 59 months of age;
• Pregnant women and their household contacts;
• Visitors to hospitals, health centres and long-term care facilities;
• People who work with live poultry;
• Health-care and other care providers
Influenza is a serious and contagious respiratory infection that can lead to hospitalization and, in severe cases, death. Symptoms of influenza may include fever, aches, fatigue, headaches, muscle pain, a runny nose, sore throat, and cough.
“People often confuse influenza with the common cold, but they are not the same. A cold is usually a milder illness that can make you uncomfortable for a few days,” said Dr. Mema. “In contrast, flu symptoms are more debilitating, and potentially life threatening to those at risk of complications.”
You can also reduce your risk of illness by preventing the spread of germs.
• Wash your hands frequently, especially after coughing or sneezing;
• Cough or sneeze into your elbow or a tissue;
• Stay home if you are sick; and
• If your children are sick, keep them home.
For more information, visit www.interiorhealth.ca.