Influenza has arrived in Saskatchewan just in time to be an uninvited guest at holiday festivities. This has the province’s chief medical health officer, Dr. Saqib Shahab, urging people to practice proper hand hygiene and stay home if you’re sick.
“If you’re visiting loved ones in long-term care facilities or hospitals, it’s really important to not visit if you’re sick. Even if you’re otherwise well, do follow the instructions that are there,” Shahab said.
On the bright side, Shahab said the province has seen an uptick in people getting the flu vaccine.
The province ordered a record number, 436,000 doses. Shahab said 330,000 vaccines have been administered so far this flu season, a 15 per cent increase.
This year’s dominant flu strain appears to be H3N2. Shahab said this year’s vaccine should do a good job, especially for younger people, in warding off the illness.
“But having said that, if you’re older than 65 or you have underlying risk factors, even if you got the vaccine and you get flu-like symptoms, be aware of your symptoms,” Shahab suggested.
“Seek medical care if your symptoms are getting worse because the flu vaccine does prevent influenza in many cases if you’re older or have underlying illnesses it may decrease the impact of the vaccine.”
Over 600 clinics around Saskatchewan are offering flu shots from now until the end of March. The full list can be found on the SHA website.