Influenza shots now available in Red Deer

It’s that time of year again to roll up your sleeve and ward off this year’s version of the flu.

Alberta Health Services has released information on influenza vaccine clinics across the City and region.

Officials say this year that a single influenza shot protects folks against both seasonal influenza and H1N1.

All Albertans six months of age and older are eligible to receive the vaccine free of charge.

Red Deerians can attend clinics at Parkland Mall (the old Sears location) on Oct. 13, 14 (9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.) and 16 (9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.)

Officials say that the province has already received large shipments of this year’s influenza vaccine, and will continue to receive more vaccine through the remainder of the season.

Seasonal influenza is described as a serious infection of the respiratory tract caused by a virus that spreads easily from person to person via droplets in the air when a person coughs or sneezes.

It’s also spread through direct contact with surfaces contaminated by the virus such as toys, eating utensils and unwashed hands.

Seasonal influenza infection most commonly causes a sudden onset of high fever, cough (usually dry), headache, muscle and joint aches and pain, severe malaise (feeling unwell), sore throat and runny nose.

Other symptoms may include fatigue and decreased appetite.

Uncommon symptoms may include nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

The time from when a person is infected with the virus to when they become sick is most commonly about two days, but it can hit anywhere from one to four days after they are infected.

Most people get better within one week, but some can develop severe complications such as pneumonia.

Influenza season typically runs from November through April.

While those at high risk for influenza-related health complications are encouraged to get immunized early in the influenza season, it is important that all Albertans (six months of age and older) get immunized in the coming months.

Other ways to prevent the spread of sickness is to cough or sneeze into your arm or into a tissue – not into your hands, which should then be washed immediately. People are also encouraged to stay home when they are sick.

For complete clinic schedules and more details, check out www.albertahealthservies.ca or call HealthLink Alberta at 1-866-408-5465.

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