Health officials recommend that Saskatchewan residents protect themselves against influenza in light of increasing flu activity in the province.
This year, influenza season started late in Saskatchewan, but has already resulted in hospitalization for some people with severe illness. The level of influenza activity is expected to increase into the new year.
“Getting vaccinated is an effective way to avoid illness from influenza,” Deputy Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Denise Werker said. “We encourage Saskatchewan residents to get a flu shot if they haven’t already done so, and practice good hand hygiene to help them avoid getting sick.”
In Saskatchewan and across Canada, H1N1 is the predominant strain causing illness this flu season. This strain is included in this year’s flu vaccine.
The influenza vaccine is available through public health clinics and some physicians’ and nurse practitioners’ offices. Health regions are prepared to schedule additional public health clinics as needed. People can call HealthLine 811 or their health region for specific information.
The influenza vaccine is strongly recommended for people at high risk of influenza-related complications or hospitalization. High risk groups include:
•people with chronic health conditions;
•people 65 and older;
•residents of long-term care facilities;
•people with severe obesity;
•children under five; and
Vaccine is also recommended for health care workers and volunteers, household and close contacts of the above high risk groups, those in contact with babies under six months, individuals who provide regular child care to children under five years of age, people who work with poultry or hogs and health science students (human and animal health).
For more information on influenza immunization, symptoms and self-care, call HealthLine 811 or visit www.health.gov.sk.ca, Healthline Online at www.healthlineonline.ca, or your health region’s website.