Nova Scotians of all ages are encouraged to get the annual influenza vaccine.
“Influenza can have serious complications for many people, including the elderly, children under five years of age and those with chronic health conditions,” said Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health. “Vaccination is a simple, safe and effective way to prevent getting and spreading the virus.”
The vaccine is now available from most pharmacists, family doctors, family practice nurses and nurse practitioners. Many workplaces also offer flu vaccination clinics for employees. Families with children under the age of five can also arrange their vaccination through the local Public Health office.
It can take several weeks to build up full immunity against the influenza virus. Nova Scotians are encouraged to get the vaccine early, so they can be protected sooner.
Influenza vaccine is free for all Nova Scotians.
“Global trends show that the H3N2 virus is likely to be part of Nova Scotia’s flu season, a strain of influenza that can be particularly severe in the elderly,” added Dr. Strang. “It’s important to get your vaccine especially if you are at higher risk for complications.”
The province will provide the quadrivalent vaccine which contains two influenza A strains and two influenza B strains.
In addition to the seasonal vaccine, proper hand washing and covering noses and mouths when coughing or sneezing are also important to prevent the spread of influenza and many other infections. People with influenza symptoms should stay home and minimize close contact with others.
Influenza symptoms often include a sudden high fever, headache, general aches and pains, fatigue and weakness, a runny, stuffy nose, sneezing and sore throat. It can lead to more severe illness such as pneumonia or even death.
For more information, visit http://novascotia.ca/flu .