Residents Encouraged to Receive the Seasonal Influenza Vaccination
The seasonal influenza vaccination is now available throughout Newfoundland and Labrador.
"We promote good nutrition and exercise as ways to contribute to your general health, but these alone will not protect you from the influenza virus," said Dr. Faith Stratton, Chief Medical Officer of Health for Newfoundland and Labrador. "Immunization every fall is a proven measure to both prevent influenza and reduce complications caused by influenza."
The influenza vaccine is provided free of charge and is recommended to those at high risk for complications from influenza, including:
- Adults and children with chronic conditions requiring regular medical or hospital care such as respiratory disorders, cardiac disease, renal disease, metabolic disorders, mobility impairment, and immunosuppression;
- Persons in residential care, including residents and staff;
- Persons age 60 and over;
- Children age six to 59 months;
- Pregnant women, particularly those in their third trimester;
- Aboriginal people;
- Health care workers including those in the community or chronic care facilities;
- Household contacts of people at high risk of influenza complications;
- Essential service workers (e.g. police, ambulance, firefighters);
- Live poultry and swine industry workers.
It is recommended to receive the seasonal influenza vaccination before the peak period for influenza cases from December to April. This year's flu shot protects against three types of influenza, including two types of influenza A, and one influenza B.
Commonly known as "the flu," influenza is a highly contagious, respiratory infection. Symptoms of the flu typically include the sudden onset of fever, headache, chills and a dry cough followed by body aches. Although most people recover fully from influenza in seven to 10 days, it may lead to serious complications such as pneumonia and has the potential to be life-threatening.
"When combined with regular hand washing, the flu shot is the most effective protection against influenza viruses," said Dr. Stratton. "In addition to receiving the vaccine, it is important to practice the Clean, Cover and Contain rule. Clean your hands, cover your coughs and sneezes and contain your illness by staying home to rest."
Information on specific flu shot clinics is available from public health offices, family physicians, and the regional health authority office in your area.