SURREY – Flu shots aren’t just about you. They’re about the people around you. Fraser Health is reminding people to get their flu shot and help protect their loved ones this winter.
“We call this approach ‘community’, or ‘herd’ immunity,” says Fraser Health Medical Health Officer Dr. Ingrid Tyler. “This occurs when a critical portion of the community is immunized against contagious illnesses like the flu, the spread of the disease is contained, and those who can’t get a flu shot for health or medical reasons are better protected.”
For healthy people, falling sick with the flu means a few days of feeling miserable, but for young children, the elderly and those with underlying health conditions, it can lead to hospitalization and Intensive Care Unit admissions. Fraser Health is encouraging everyone to get a flu shot so you’re not only protecting yourself, but also the high-risk people around you.
Flu shots are recommended for everyone and are available free of cost in B.C. for all children between six months and five years old, seniors 65 years old and older, pregnant women, Aboriginal people and individuals with chronic health conditions or compromised immune systems. People who work or live with people who have a higher risk of complications from the flu and visitors to health facilities are also eligible for a free vaccine.
Influenza, or the flu, is a virus infection of the upper airway, and can lead to symptoms of fever, headache, fatigue and cough. Complications from influenza, such as pneumonia, are more common in the elderly and those with heart, lung or other health conditions. An estimated 4,000 to 8,000 Canadians, mainly seniors, die every year from complications of influenza infection. Influenza is easily spread from person to person, and an infected person can spread the virus before they even know that they are sick.
Flu shots are now available at your doctor’s office, walk-in clinics and pharmacies. To find a flu clinic near you, click here.
New flu vaccines are released every year to keep up with rapidly adapting flu viruses. Because flu viruses evolve so quickly, last year’s vaccine may not protect you from this year’s viruses.