Do you really have time for the flu? Get immunized early and get protected

Island Health is reminding people to get their flu shot early to help protect themselves against influenza.

Where can you get your flu shot?

Adults can get immunized through their local pharmacy or physician beginning October 8.

· Check in with your primary health-care provider or pharmacist

· Visit immunizebc.ca/clinics/flu/ or

· Call HealthLink BC at 8-1-1 for locations

Families with eligible children under 18 are invited to get a free flu shot at a public health clinic beginning Oct. 29. They may also check with their pharmacist or physician about getting immunized.

· Visit islandfluclinics.ca to find a flu clinic near you.

Can you get a free flu shot?

Children (6 months to 5 years), seniors (65+ years), pregnant women, Aboriginal peoples, and people at high risk of complications from influenza, their close contacts and caregivers are among those eligible for a free flu shot.

· Find out if you are eligible for the free flu vaccine at islandhealth.ca/flu.

If you are not eligible, you may receive a flu vaccine for a fee through your family doctor or pharmacist.

Call Island Health’s telephone hotlines for more information:

Campbell River and area: 250-850-2120

For more information, visit immunizebc.ca or call 8-1-1 to speak to a health professional.

Flu facts:

Influenza (the flu) is among the top ten leading causes of death in Canada, estimated to cause over 12,200 hospitalizations and 3,500 deaths annually.

The flu is an infection of the upper airway (nose and throat) caused by the influenza virus. The flu virus spreads between people through breathing, coughing and sneezing.

Getting vaccinated is the best protection against the flu, and complements other prevention measures, such as hand washing and staying home when sick.

Flu symptoms include fever, headache, runny nose, sore throat, fatigue and cough.

The term “flu” is often used to describe other illnesses, such as a cold or stomach virus.

However, flu symptoms are usually prolonged and more severe than a cold and do not usually include nausea, vomiting and diarrhea (see Is it influenza or a cold?).

Island Health provides health care and support services to more than 767,000 people on Vancouver Island, the islands in the Salish Sea and the Johnstone Strait, and mainland communities north of Powell River.

With more than 20,000 staff and over 2,000 medical staff, 6,000 volunteers, and the dedicated support of foundations and auxiliaries, Island Health delivers a broad range of health services, including: public health services, primary health care, home and community care, mental health and addictions services, acute care in hospitals, and much more across a huge, geographically diverse region.