Central Albertans seek flu shots

The flu has yet to strike in Central Alberta and residents are heading to immunization clinics to try and stay healthy this season.

The flu has yet to strike in Central Alberta and residents are heading to immunization clinics to try and stay healthy this season.

So far Alberta has had seven lab confirmed influenza cases, none of them detected in Alberta Health Services Central Zone.

“We’ve got mass clinics happening now and it’s good to get immunized in advance. But if someone couldn’t get around to it until say January, that wouldn’t be ideal, but it’s not too late.

“As long as influenza is occurring, it’s not too late to be immunized,” said Dr. Digby Horne, a medical officer of health for AHS Central Zone at the immunization clinic at the Harvest Centre at Westerner Park on Wednesday.

During the 2012-13 flu season, Central Zone had 251 lab confirmed cases of influenza A and 125 confirmed influenza B cases.

This year the flu vaccine contains two strains of influenza A, including 2009’s pandemic strain H1N1, and one influenza B strain.

Horne said the vaccine continues to include H1N1 because it continues to circulate.

He said judging on the impact of the flu in the Southern Hemisphere, the flu should not be anything out of the ordinary here.

Alberta’s annual influenza campaign began Monday.

The vaccine is free of charge to all Albertans six months of age and older, and is available at public immunization clinics, as well at some pharmacies and physician offices.

Once again this year, a nasal spray will be available for children age two to 17.

Alberta Health Services says those at risk for serious health problems from influenza are children younger than two and adults 65 and older; people with weakened immune systems; those with chronic illnesses such as heart, lung or kidney disease, diabetes and cancer; and severely overweight individuals.

For dates and times for clinics visit www.albertahealthservices.ca/influenza.asp.

szielinski@bprda.wpengine.com

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