Province urging Manitobans to get flu shots

Province urging Manitobans to get flu shots

Dr. Frank Welch, medical director for the Louisiana Department of Health Immunization Program, said not only do flu shots protect individuals from getting the flu, it also keeps people from spreading it to others who are more vulnerable.

Influenza spreads when a person comes into contact with droplets from an infected person who coughs or sneezes.

The flu shot provides protection from the influenza virus strains expected to be circulating this season based on worldwide trends identified by the World Health Organization.

The province said the flu contributed to the deaths of 12 people and the hospitalization of another 150, and that it is important for all Manitobans older than six months to get immunized. "However, influenza is different - it is a serious infection of the airways that can be quite severe". Symptoms can include fever, headache, runny nose, sore throat, or cough.

"Some people are not eligible for a flu shot, which makes it especially important that others in the community get vaccinated", Welch said. This year's flu shot offers protection against two influenza A viruses (an H1N1 and an H3N2 virus) and one influenza B virus.

The flu shot is free for those at risk of complications from influenza and those in contact with people at risk.

The Department of Health says the influenza A case involves a Lawrence County resident in his or her 20s.

Manitobans over the age of 65 should also get a pneumococcal (Pneu-P-23) vaccine at the same time as the flu vaccine.

Flu vaccines can be obtained at local pharmacies and primary care physicians' offices or health centers. By following this policy, you will help to protect the people you are visiting from getting a potentially serious illness.

Regional health authorities will soon begin immunization clinics.