A baby gets her flu shot. Flu clinics will soon be offered in Smithers and Telkwa. (Marisca Bakker photo)

Flu shot clinics coming soon

Northern Health recommends everyone get the vaccine

’Tis the season.

Flu clinics will soon be offered in Smithers and Telkwa.

Dr Rakel Kling with Northern Health recommends the flu vaccine to everyone.

“The flu shot really helps decreasing people from catching the flu and having symptoms from the flu. I think it is very important that everyone gets the flu shot,” she said. “However, there are some pockets of the population where we do provide the vaccine free of charge. That includes people with chronic conditions, children, elderly, people who work in hospitals and people who interact with high risk people.”

Kling added not only does it protect you but others around you as well.

“Some people who get the flu could be at risk for getting more severe symptoms like pneumonia, getting hospitalized or some people can even die from it. It is very important to get the flu shot to avoid transmission,” she said.

According to the latest data from Health Canada, the majority of regions in Canada are reporting no influenza activity. However, regions in western Canada have reported increased influenza detections, and localized or sporadic activity for the first week of October. Influenza A (H3N2) is the most common influenza virus circulating in Canada.

Kling also said there is no truth to rumours that getting the shot will give you the flu.

“The flu shot is very safe and very effective in preventing influenza. It doesn’t cause the flu,” she said. “What happens is people get the shot during cold and flu season essentially and people often get coincidental illness around the same time.”

Her other tips for staying healthy this season are to wash your hands often, cough in your sleeve and stay home when you are sick.

Kling has not heard yet any predictions about what kind of flu season may be coming.

Flu clinics will be held on Nov. 7, Nov. 8, Nov. 14 and Nov. 15 in the Smithers Public Health Unit and on Nov. 17 in the Telkwa Seniors’ Centre. The clinics are drop-ins and once these are over drop-in times will be available at the public health unit on Thursday afternoons. For more information on the vaccine call HealthLinkBC at 811 or visit immunizebc.ca

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