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Kelowna  

Get shot for the health of it

Interior Health is encouraging people to get shot to stay healthy.

According to IH, about 12,200 people are hospitalized and 3,500 people die from influenza or its complications every year. The best way to avoid influenza is to get a flu shot, IH says.

Health officials said it is especially important for children, pregnant women, seniors and people with chronic illnesses.

“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 Dr. Rakel Kling, medical health officer. “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.”

The 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 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 Kling.

Flu shots provide protection from virus strains expected to be circulating this season based on worldwide trends identified by the World Health Organization.

This year’s 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.

To find an influenza immunization clinic or provider near you, watch for local announcements on dates and times in your community; or contact your local public health centre, physician office or pharmacy.  You can also find a flu clinic near you by visiting theInfluenza Clinic Locator on the ImmunizeBC website.



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