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Free flu shots available for at-risk groups in Thompson-Okanagan

Interior Health medical health officer Dr. Moliehi Khaketla, pictured in this contributed photo, says 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.
Image Credit: Contributed/Interior Health
October 17, 2016 - 2:30 PM

THOMPSON-OKANAGAN - Flu season is back, and the Interior Health Authority is reminding all at-risk individuals to protect themselves and others by getting the free vaccine.

Every year in Canada about 12,200 people are hospitalized and 3,500 people die from influenza and complications from it, according to an Interior Health Authority media release.

Those considered at-risk of complications from the virus can receive the shot for free. Individuals not eligible to receive it for free can pay for the shot.

These groups include, but are not limited to, people 65 years or older and their caregivers, people in residential care facilities, children and adults with chronic health conditions, children and adolescents with conditions treated for long periods of time with Aspirin, children and adults who are morbidly obese, aboriginal people, all children six to 59 months old and their caregivers, pregnant women, visitors to hospitals, health centres and residential care facilities, people who work with live poultry, health care providers and people who provide essential community services.

Interior Health says getting an annual flu shot can help keep yourself and others healthy.

“Influenza, which people often call the flu, is often incorrectly assumed to be any illness caused by a virus. It is sometimes confused with the common cold,” Dr. Moliehi Khaketla says in the release. “However, influenza is a serious infection of the airways and can be quite severe. It is highly contagious, and is among the top ten leading causes of death in Canada.”

Influenza is spread when one person comes in contact with droplets from an infected person who coughs or sneezes. Fever, headache, runny nose, sore throat or cough are all symptoms of influenza.

Public clinics for people eligible to receive the shot begin Nov. 1. Many doctor's offices, pharmacies and walk-in clinics are also providing flu shots.

Interior Health reminds the public that during the flu season, flu shots or masks are required when visiting patients in any heath care facility.

— This story was corrected at 9:44 a.m., Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016 to revise incorrect statitics provided by the Interior Health Authority regarding the number of Canadians hosptialized by influenza.

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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2016
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