Not Too Late For A Flu Shot

first_imgPublic health officials are reminding Nova Scotians that it’s not too late to get a flu shot. Dr. Robert Strang, acting deputy chief medical officer of health, said flu season has begun. “We now have lab-confirmed cases of influenza and Nova Scotians should take precautions to try to limit the spread of flu in the province.” Flu season usually begins in January or February in Nova Scotia and typically lasts four to six weeks. A flu shot is still the best defence against influenza. High-risk individuals, people 65 and older, children between six and 23 months, and anyone with a chronic illness, are at greatest risk for severe influenza. People in these groups, and those in close contact with them, who have not had a flu shot are encouraged to visit their family doctor for the vaccine. Aside from immunization, there are several simple steps to prevent the flu. Frequent hand washing is a strong line of defence, especially after being in a public place or shaking hands. People should try to avoid close contact with others who have cold and flu symptoms. Those with flu symptoms should stay at home, minimize contact with others and wash their hands frequently, especially after coughing or sneezing. It is important during flu season to protect those with weakened immune systems, so people with cold and flu symptoms should not visit hospital patients or long-term-care residents. Flu symptoms often include a sudden high fever, headache, general aches and pains, fatigue and weakness, a runny, stuffy nose, sneezing and sore throat. Diarrhea and vomiting are not symptoms of the flu, but are more likely the result of a gastrointestinal illness or another virus. The majority of confirmed cases are influenza A, which this year’s flu vaccine should protect against. More information on influenza can be found on the Department of Health Promotion and Protection website, at www.gov.ns.ca/hpp/ocmoh/flu.htmlast_img