Health authorities insist – it's not too late for flu shots – Kitimat Northern Sentinel



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Just say bird flu. Call it swine flu. Just say what you like – know that this year H1N1 influenza returns and targets children and adults.

And this winter's H1N1 is increasing in the northern part of BC, encouraging Northern Health to remind people that it's still not too late to get immunization against the flu.

"We know that viruses spread more easily during peak seasons for these diseases, and that some people like seniors and people of all ages with underlying medical conditions are at higher risk for complications," said health health officer Northern Health, Dr. Rakel Kling.

"It's not too late for people to get flu shots, which this year has proven to be compatible with the type of virus in circulation."

Last year and the previous year, there was a severe epidemic due to the type of H3N2 influenza virus. This year, most types of influenza A H1N1 circulated.

Both cause diseases similar to fever, cough, pain and fatigue, but the H3N2 virus is most difficult in the elderly, while the H1N1 virus tends to affect more children and adults who are not elderly.

This season's vaccine provides protection against H3N2 and H1N1 viruses, as well as influenza B.

The BC Disease Control Center (BCCDC) advises individuals who are very at risk and their close contact to be vaccinated.

High-risk individuals are those who have underlying medical conditions such as heart and lung disease or those with weakened immune systems that make it more difficult to fight respiratory infections.

"Children and adults who are not elderly with underlying medical conditions may need protection. They must be vaccinated as well as their close contact, "said the influenza leader at BCCDC Dr. Danuta Skowronski.

"Because influenza vaccines take about two weeks to encourage protection, now is the time for high-risk individuals and their close contact to get vaccinated, if they haven't already done so."

Besides vaccination, there are other steps that people can take to reduce their own risk and minimize the spread of influenza and other viruses to others.

This includes:

* Wash hands frequently, especially if you are in a public place.

* Avoid touching your face, especially your eyes, mouth and nose.

* Cough and sneeze to your elbow.

* If you use tissue, make sure to dispose of it properly and wash your hands.

* If you feel unwell, stay at home,

so you don't transmit the infection to other people.

, especially those who may be at higher risk.

* If you are in close contact with people at higher risk of experiencing serious complications from influenza, get the vaccine and don't visit them if you feel unwell.

"Influenza is a very bad gift for anyone to accept. If you fall ill like the flu this holiday season, stay at home. "Don't give this sad disease back to others," Dr. Skowronski advised.

Cherry Parado gave MLA Ellis Ross a shot of flu. (Facebook photos)

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