Flu shot clinics offered this November

By on October 26, 2017
File photo.

‘This the season of influenza — and the Interior Health Authority (IHA) will be offering two free flu shot clinics in the Nicola Valley next month.

Those eligible to receive a free flu shot should stop by the Merritt civic centre at 1950 Mamette Ave. between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Nov.1.

Another clinic by appointment will be held at Merritt Public Health located at 34551 Voght St. on Nov. 29 between 9:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Flu shots are also available at the local Extra Foods, Blacks Pharmacy and Pharmasave.

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, and it’s important to get one early, stated an IHA press release.

Influenza viruses change from year to year.

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 a safe and effective way to help protect the public, especially children, pregnant women, seniors, people with chronic illnesses and others who are most at risk from influenza and its complications.

“Influenza, which people often call the flu, is sometimes confused with the common cold, the stomach flu (norovirus) or other illnesses caused by a virus,” said Medical Health Officer Dr. Rakel Kling. “However, influenza is different — it is a serious infection of the airways that can be quite severe. It is highly contagious, and is among the top 10 leading causes of death in Canada.”

Every year in Canada, about 12,200 people are hospitalized and 3,500 people die from influenza or its complications.

Influenza 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 best ways to help protect yourself and those around you from influenza are to get immunized, wash your hands frequently and to cough or sneeze into your elbow or a tissue. If you are sick, stay home, and keep sick children away from daycares and schools,” said Dr. Kling.

To find a flu clinic near you check out the IHA’s influenza clinic locator.

People who are not eligible for the free vaccine will be required to pay a fee.

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

·         Aboriginal people

·         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

·         People who work with live poultry

·         Health-care and other care providers in facilities and community settings who are capable of transmitting influenza disease to those at high risk of influenza complications

·         People who provide care or service in potential outbreak settings housing high-risk persons

·         People who provide essential community services (first responders, corrections workers)

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