Healthy Living in the North

Don’t let the flu get to you!

A graphic stating, "Don't let the flu get to you! Find a flu clinic near you at immunizebc.ca."“In Canada, vaccines have saved more lives than any other medical intervention in the past 50 years.” — ImmunizeBC

Northern Health’s Regional Nursing Lead, Immunization, Pat S., says one of the best ways you can stay healthy and protected from vaccine-preventable diseases is to get immunized.

Pat says when people are immunized, they not only protect themselves, they also protect those around them.

“There are people in our communities who can’t get immunized, such as babies who may be too young to get vaccines, people with poor immune systems, and people with certain medical reasons such as those undergoing cancer treatment,” says Pat. “By staying current with your vaccinations, you can help protect those people in your communities. The more people who are immunized, the better, because then it’s more difficult for vaccine-preventable diseases to spread.”

What is influenza?

Influenza, also called “the flu” is an infection of the upper airway caused by the influenza virus; it can be spread by coughing, sneezing, or face-to-face contact. Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle pain, runny nose, sore throat, extreme tiredness, and cough. Children may also have nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.

It’s important to get a flu shot to protect yourself; it can be a serious and sometimes fatal infection.

Where can I get a flu shot?

Across Northern Health, seasonal influenza vaccines are available starting November 4 at Northern Health’s Public Health Units, for people eligible for publicly-funded flu shots. The vaccine is recommended for and provided free to the following groups:

  • People at high risk:
  • Seniors (65+)
  • Residents of long-term care facilities
  • Indigenous Peoples
  • People who are morbidly obese
  • Pregnant women
  • People with certain chronic diseases
  • People who could infect those at high risk
  • People who provide essential community services

Pat adds that in BC, flu shots are also provided at pharmacies, doctors’ offices, and travel clinics. To find a flu clinic near you, visit ImmunizeBC – Find an Influenza (Flu) Clinic.

Visit Northern Health FluImmunizeBC or HealthLink BC for more detailed information on:

  • The flu
  • Flu vaccine eligibility
  • Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine eligibility (Pneumovax®23)

In addition, Pat encourages anyone looking for information about shingles or the shingles vaccine – which is not provided free in BC – to talk to their local care provider.

Joanne MacDonald

About Joanne MacDonald

Joanne MacDonald is a communications consultant for Northern Health. Prior to joining Northern Health, Joanne worked in the journalism and communications fields in the lower mainland, Whitehorse and Ottawa. She keeps active by taking Zumba and spinning classes.

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