Interlake-Eastern CEO Ron van Denakker receives his flu shot from immunization nurse Debbie Wangsud. The IERHA is encouraging residents to get their annual flu shot if they have yet to do so. (IERHA)
Free flu shots are available at any of the numerous remaining public flu clinics across the Interlake-Eastern RHA.
Individuals can also see their regular health care providers or local pharmacists that offer flu shots.
IERHA public health nurses would like to remind everyone to bring their Manitoba Health Card and wear a short-sleeved shirt. No appointments are necessary and walk-ins are welcome.
Public flu clinics are open at different times throughout the day. For a complete listing of Interlake-Eastern RHA flu clinics, visit www.ierha.ca and click on the banner “2016 Flu Clinics” on the home page.
The theme of this year’s flu campaign is ‘Get vaccinated. Don’t spread the flu.’ This campaign reminds people that a flu shot provides protection against the flu and helps prevent transmission to those with weakened immune systems and those with health conditions.
The flu can spread easily from one person to another through coughing, sneezing or by touching objects contaminated with the flu virus and then touching your mouth, eyes or nose. The number one way to avoid the flu is getting a flu vaccine every fall, but also by covering coughs and sneezes, and washing hands often.
Melody Hawryluk, immunization co-ordinator and public health nurse for Interlake-Eastern RHA, said there are still plenty of great opportunities to get your flu shot, especially as the colder weather is starting to settle in.
“In Canada, the flu season typically occurs between November and April,” Hawryluk said in a prepared statement. “Although we do see the occasional case of influenza in summer, the flu virus is more stable and stays in the air longer when air is cold and dry. The cold weather provides perfect conditions for the spread of the flu virus. So now is the best time to be vaccinated against influenza. Full protection against the flu takes about two weeks from the time you get a flu shot and lasts about six months.”
The following people should consider getting the shot:
• Seniors age 65 or older,
• Residents of personal care homes or long-term care facilities,
• Children age six months to five years,
• Those with chronic illness,
• Pregnant women,
• Health-care workers and first responders,
• Individuals of Indigenous ancestry,
• People who are severely overweight or obese, and
• As determined by primary health-care providers.
Manitobans over the age of 65 should also get a pneumococcal vaccine for free at the same time as the seasonal flu vaccine. Most adults only need one pneumococcal vaccine in their lifetime.