It’s time for North Okanagan residents to roll up their sleeves for the flu shot.
The Interior Health Authority says the vaccine protects the public, especially children, pregnant women, seniors, people with chronic illnesses, and others who are most at risk from influenza and its complications.
“Influenza is a serious infection of the airways and can be quite severe. It is highly contagious, and is among the top 10 leading causes of death in Canada,” said Dr. Moliehi Khaketla, medical health officer.
Flu spreads when a person comes into contact with droplets from an infected person who coughs or sneezes. Symptoms can include fever, headache, runny nose, sore throat, or cough.
The flu shot provides protection from the influenza virus strains expected to be circulating this season based on worldwide trends identified by the World Health Organization. This year’s flu shot offers protection against two influenza A viruses (an H1N1 and an H3N2 virus) and one influenza B virus. For those under 18, the preferred vaccine also protects against an additional B influenza virus.
The flu shot is free for those at risk of complications from influenza and those in contact with people at risk. This includes:
People 65 years and older and their caregivers/household contacts
People of any age in residential care facilities
Children and adults with chronic health conditions and their household contacts
Children and adolescents (six months to 18 years) with conditions treated for long periods of time with Aspirin (ASA), and their household contacts
Children and adults who are morbidly obese
All children six to 59 months of age
Household contacts and caregivers of infants and children from birth to 59 months of age
Pregnant women at any stage of pregnancy during the influenza season and their household contacts
Visitors to hospitals, health centres and residential care facilities
Health care and other care providers in facilities and community settings
IHA holds public clinics for those who are eligible for the free flu shot. Public clinics will start in some communities beginning Nov. 1.
To find an influenza immunization clinic, visit http://immunizebc.ca/clinics/flu