Alberta’s influenza immunization program will begin Oct. 24th, offering influenza vaccine, free of charge, to all Albertans six months of age and older.
A complete list of local clinic times and dates can be found at www.albertahealthservices.ca.
Here in Red Deer, a clinic will be set up at the Golden Circle on Nov. 7th from 12:30 to 7:30 p.m; Kentwood Alliance Church on Nov. 8th-9th from 12:30 to 7:30 p.m.; Red Deer Christian Reformed Church on Nov. 19th and Dec. 3rd from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Westerner Park (Harvest Centre) on Oct. 24th (9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.); Oct. 25th (12:30 to 7:30 p.m.); Oct. 29th (9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.) and Nov. 2nd-3rd (12:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.) as well.
For most, influenza will cause a few days of fever, cough and generally feeling unwell. But for some, this contagious respiratory disease can lead to severe complications requiring hospitalization or even death, officials say.
“Many Canadians don’t know that healthy children under the age of five and seniors over 65, people with chronic illnesses such as asthma, diabetes or heart disease, pregnant women, Aboriginal people, people who are obese, and residents of nursing homes and other health care facilities are vulnerable groups that need protection from influenza,” explains Dr. Shelly McNeil, chair of Immunize Canada.
Officials also say the best time to get vaccinated is from October through to December, but it is never too late.
Track your influenza vaccination using the free ImmunizeCA app available for secure, free download at the App Store and Google Play. All can be accessed online at immunize.ca/app.
According to Alberta Health, seasonal influenza is the annual influenza that affects people in Canada during the winter, between November and April. Various strains of the virus circulate throughout the world each year and new strains can emerge and spread.
Influenza spreads rapidly – the virus passes from person to person when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks. Tiny drops of moisture (droplets) containing the virus can enter the eyes, nose or mouth of people nearby.
The virus can live on hands and is then passed to surfaces through touching. The virus can live on hard surfaces such as door handles, telephones, light switches, computer keyboards, countertops for up to 48 hours, and on soft surfaces like clothing for eight to 10 hours.
Infection can also happen when people touch any surface contaminated with the virus and then touch their own mouth, nose or eyes before washing their hands. People usually develop symptoms of influenza within four days after becoming infected.
Meanwhile, besides being immunized, officials remind folks that the best ways to also protect themselves include cleaning their hands often with soap and warm water or hand sanitizer. It’s also recommended to eat nutritious food, exercise and get a good night’s sleep to stay as healthy as possible. Also, cover your cough in your sleeve and stay at home when you are sick.
People develop symptoms of influenza from one to four days after becoming infected. They can pass on the virus from the day before they have the first symptoms until at least five to seven days after the symptoms start.
Symptoms include fever that starts suddenly, a dry cough that can last for weeks, headache, an aching body especially in the lower back and legs and feeling very weak and tired. Other symptoms can include chills, loss of appetite, sore throat, a runny or stuffy nose. Some people may have nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
For more information, contact Health Link at 811 or visit www.health.alberta.ca.