Flu season is approaching and Interior Health is gearing up for the launch of the influenza vaccination campaign that begins next week.
Last year, over 145,000 seasonal flu shots were provided free of charge to those at risk of complications from the flu.
“Vaccine composition is developed by the World Health Organization based on flu trends worldwide. This year’s vaccine contains three different flu strains including the H1N1 strain,” said Dr. Rob Parker, medical health officer with Interior Health. “The two most important ways to protect yourself from getting the flu are to wash your hands frequently and get your flu shot. This is especially important if you are over 65 or have a chronic health condition.”
Parker said the flu can cause severe complications for those with heart, lung or other health problems.
To find a flu clinic near you, visit www.interiorhealth.ca for a complete listing or contact Penticton public health at 250-770-3434, Summerland public health at 250-404-8050, Oliver public health at 250-498-5080, Osoyoos public health at 250-495-6433 or Keremeos public health at 250-499-3029
For those that don’t become severely ill, getting the flu can mean several missed days of school, work and other activities. Interior Health said flu vaccinations are a proven, safe and effective way to reduce your chances of getting the flu and the flu shot lessens the severity of symptoms for those who do get the flu. According to information from Interior Health, the flu shot is 70 to 90 per cent effective in preventing influenza in healthy children and adults.
The shot is free for a wide range of people and those not eligible for a free flu vaccine through the publicly-funded program should contact their physician, local pharmacy, walk-in clinic, travel clinic or private provider.
The flu shot is free for people 65 years and older and their caregivers/household contacts, 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 Acetylsalicyclic acid and their household contacts, adults who are very obese, Aboriginal people, healthy children age six to 23 months, household contacts and caregivers of infants age zero to 23 months, pregnant women who will be in their third trimester during influenza season and their household contacts, residents of nursing homes and other chronic care facilities, health care and other care providers in facilities and community settings who are capable of transmitting influenza to those at risk, inmates and staff of provincial correctional institutions and people who work with live poultry and/or swine.