Get flu shot or put on a mask

Public Health at Kimberley Health Centre still offering flu shots

If you haven’t had your flu shot yet for the coming flu season, public health nurse Terri Fergus wants you to know that they are still available at Kimberley’s Health Centre.

There will be another flu shot clinic next Thursday at the Health Centre from 1 to 6 p.m., or you can call and make arrangements to get your shot at 250-427-2215.

Fergus would also like people to know that there is a supply of the nasal mist vaccine for children, ages 2 to 17, which is also free.

“The protection in that age group with the mist has been shown to be better than the injection,” said Public Health Nurse Nancy Ricard.

And if lessening your chances of falling ill with the flu isn’t enough reason to get a vaccination, there is further incentive. The provincial government announced this week that  beginning Dec. 2, 2013, anyone visiting someone in a health-care facility will be expected to have been vaccinated or wear a mask to help protect  those most vulnerable this influenza season.

This means anyone entering a hospital, long-term care facility or any other health care facility will have to don a mask if they haven’t been vaccinated. Masks will be available, free of charge, at all facilities.

Health-care workers, volunteers and contractors to health care facilities are all required to be vaccinated.

Adding the general public to the equation simply means more protection for those in hospital or long-term care facilities. You must also be vaccinated or wear a mask if you take family members for out-patient appointments or go to an appointment yourself.

Flu shots are offered for free in B.C. to a number of individuals, including children, seniors, pregnant women, Aboriginal people, individuals with chronic health conditions, and those who work or come in close contact with higher-risk groups.

The influenza vaccine is safe and effective at preventing illness when used in conjunction with other infection control practices, such as hand washing and remaining at home when sick.

For more information about influenza and vaccination clinics, go to: www.immunizebc.ca

Public Health Nurses also encourage those at risk to get the pneumonia shot at the same time.