The official start of the influenza season is December 2nd, just a few short weeks before Christmas.
This year, give your family the gift of staying healthy over the holidays and get immunized against influenza.
The flu can cause serious illness and even death in seniors and others in high risk groups. VIHA says it knows many people don’t get immunized because they think of themselves as healthy and assume they won’t get sick, or that if they do get sick, it won’t matter. What they may not realize is how their illness might affect the people around them.
Even if you are a healthy adult, if you have regular contact with anyone at serious risk from influenza, you can help protect them by getting immunized. Remember, influenza is easily transmitted from person to person and can be contagious 24 to 48 hours before you show symptoms.
VIHA officials say they know there are a lot of myths and much misinformation about the influenza vaccine. Some people avoid getting vaccinated because they believe that influenza vaccines will make them sick, or cause a severe reaction, but the truth is, the flu shot can’t give you influenza — the vaccine contains killed or weakened influenza viruses that can’t cause infection. As for causing a severe reaction, the vast majority of people who get the flu shot have no side effects at all — it’s a very safe vaccine. Some people will have minor, temporary redness, soreness or swelling where the vaccine was given.
People who fall into the high risk group are eligible for a free vaccination; this includes people who come in contact with those at risk. Those at high risk include: people age 65 and older and their caregivers, children and adults with chronic health conditions and their close contacts, healthy children from six months of age to less than five years old along with their household contacts and caregivers, Aboriginal people and visitors to healthcare facilities.
For a complete list of those considered at high risk for influenza and eligible for a free vaccination and for more information on where to get immunized visit www.viha.ca/flu.
— Submitted by VIHA