The “I am Protecting My Family” seasonal influenza campaign is launching once again and Sunrise Health Region is urging the public to attend one of the 94 influenza immunization clinics being held in 36 different communities in the region from October to December. The clinics began Tuesday, October 9, 2012. The publicly-funded seasonal influenza vaccine is free of charge to all Saskatchewan residents through public health clinics and physicians offices that routinely offer the influenza vaccine to their patients.
“This year’s campaign once again uses the tagline ‘I am Protecting my Family’ and focuses on increasing awareness of the need for people to get immunized, not only for their own personal health but to help protect individuals in risk groups,” said Dr. Mandiangu Nsungu, Medical Health Officer for Sunrise Health Region. “This helps form a kind of protective wall around people who are at greater risk of contracting influenza.”
Vaccination is especially recommended for individuals with a higher risk of becoming seriously ill with influenza including:
• Adults age 65 and over
• Persons with a chronic health condition including but not limited to diabetes, lung and heart disease, asthma, neurological conditions, cancer, kidney disease and children on long-term aspirin therapy
• Pregnant women
• Children aged 6 months to 5 years (59 months)
• Persons with severe obesity
• Residents of a nursing home or other care facility
Individuals in close contact with high-risk groups are also recommended for immunization including those with close contact to infants less than 6 months of age or expecting a newborn, child and daycare workers, persons working with poultry or hogs, health care employees and volunteers and health science students.
“On average, each year 30 to 40 people in Saskatchewan die from complications related to influenza,” continued Dr. Nsungu. “Those of us who are healthy can help prevent deaths by becoming immunized ourselves, which increases our personal immunity and reduces the spread of the most serious influenzas to our family, friends and neighbours.”
Ways to help prevent the spread of influenza in addition to receiving the influenza immunization include washing hands often or using alcohol based hand sanitizers, cough or sneeze into your sleeve and use tissues once only, clean surfaces often and stay home if you are ill.
Watch for advertisements and posters in communities throughout the region. For a complete listing of all flu clinics in the region check the Sunrise Health Region website at www.sunrisehealthregion.sk.ca or contact Healthline at 1-877-800-0002. The Sunrise Information Line 1-866-800-55010 will be updated daily with the listing of clinic locations for that day.