Health officials in the Okanagan are encouraging people to get their flu shots.
Interior Health’s immunization clinics will begin Nov. 1 and continue throughout the month.
“People often confuse influenza with the common cold, but they are not the same and are caused by different viruses,” Dr. Silvina Mema, Interior Health’s medical health officer, said in a news release. “A cold is usually a milder illness that can make you uncomfortable for a few days.”
“In contrast, flu symptoms are more debilitating, and potentially life-threatening to those at risk of complications.”
Symptoms of the flu may include fever, aches, fatigue, headaches, muscle pain, a runny nose, sore throat, and cough.
“When you get the flu shot, you improve your chances of going flu free this season,” Mema said.
“Furthermore, by getting the shot you are building protection around your loved ones and reducing their chances of getting sick.”
The flu shot is free for the following people:
• People 65 years and older and their caregivers/household contacts;
• People of any age in long-term care facilities;
• Children and adults with chronic health conditions and their household contacts;
• Children and adolescents (six months to 18 years) with conditions treated for long periods of time with aspirin (ASA), and their household contacts;
• Children and adults who are morbidly obese;
• Aboriginal people;
• All children six to 59 months of age;
• Household contacts and caregivers of infants and children from birth to 59 months of age;
• Pregnant women at any stage of pregnancy during the influenza season and their household contacts;
• Visitors to hospitals, health centres and long-term care facilities;
• People who work with live poultry;
• Health-care and other care providers in facilities and community settings who are capable of transmitting influenza disease to those at high risk of influenza complications;
• People who provide care or service in potential outbreak settings housing high-risk persons (e.g., crews on ships);
• People who provide essential community services (first responders, corrections workers).
WATCH: What to expect this flu season and how the flu shot can help
The flu shot is available through pharmacists, health-care providers, First Nations community health nurses or local health units.
To find an influenza clinic near you, visit the Immunize BC Influenza Clinic Locator.