Flu Clinics Underway
Prince George, B.C.- Flu season is here. Northern Interior Medical Health Officer Dr. Andrew Gray says there have already been lab confirmed cases of the flu in B.C.“We are expecting a good vaccine match” says Dr. Gray, who is hopeful that should diminish skepticism about the effectiveness of the vaccine on particular strains of the flu. “Some people have had doubts about the effectiveness of the vaccine, but it’s about 60% effective across all seasons.” Dr. Gray says it isn’t wise to take a wait and see attitude to see if this year’s vaccine is the right match before getting a shot “It takes about two weeks for the vaccine to reach its maximum potential”.
Each year, the flu causes thousands of people to be hospitalized, and hundreds of deaths. The best protection says Dr. Gray is to get a flu shot and practice frequent hand washing.
Symptoms of the flu include:
- muscle pain
- running nose,
- sore throat,
The flu can last 7 to ten days, and can lead to further complications such as pneumonia, especially among those at higher risk.
“One of the things that makes influenza difficult to control is that people can be contagious before they have any symptoms” says Dr. Gray “The best way to protect yourself is to get the vaccine.”
Clinics have already started in some communities in Northern Health’s region, including Ft. St. James and Quesnel and Mackenzie starts its flu clinic today. In Prince George the first flu clinic (at the Northern Interior Health Unit ) is set for Wednesday November 16th, but many pharmacies have already been offering flu shots. The flu vaccine is available at no charge to those who qualify, and most people will qualify.
For details on locations for flu shots, you can visit Immunize BC by clicking here and referring to the map.