2007 Flu Campaign Begins

first_img Based on new evidence that pregnant women are at increased risk of being hospitalized because of influenza, this year the province is offering free vaccine to pregnant women. Flu vaccine is safe during pregnancy, and while breastfeeding. “Getting immunized is a good example of what we as individuals can do to create healthier communities,” said Health Promotion and Protection Minister Barry Barnet. “When you get a flu shot, you protect not only your own health, but the health of the people around you.” Because health-care providers are often in frequent contact with those at risk of contracting the flu, it is important for them to get flu shots as well. Only about 50 per cent of health-care workers get flu shots. “It’s important that health-care workers get immunized so that we prevent the spread of flu to our patients,” said Dr. Rhonda Church, past-president of Doctors Nova Scotia. “We need to stay healthy so that we can continue to provide care to those who depend on us.” Many people mistake the flu for other respiratory or stomach illnesses. Flu symptoms usually include a sudden high fever, headache, general aches and pains, fatigue and weakness, a runny, stuffy nose, sneezing and sore throat. Proper hygiene, such as hand-washing and covering your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, are also important to prevent the spread of influenza and many other infections. People with flu symptoms should stay home and minimize close contact with others. The typical flu season in Nova Scotia runs from November to April, sending more than 20,000 people to doctors. About 2,500 people are admitted to hospital during a normal flu season. For more information on the flu, or to find out where flu vaccine clinics are across the province, visit www.gov.ns.ca/hpp . pregnant women people older than 65 people living with, or caring for, those older than 65 adults and children with chronic heart and lung problems and other chronic diseases infants age six months to 23 months all health-care workers and students in health-care education programs police officers and firefighters. Public health officials are reminding Nova Scotians that immunization is our best defence to protect people, young and old, from symptoms of the flu. “Every year, influenza creates a burden on our population, our workplaces, and on our health-care system,” said Dr. Rob Strang, chief public health officer. “But much of the burden can be prevented. Immunization is a simple, safe and effective way to save lives and prevent serious illness this flu season.” The Department of Health Promotion and Protection is providing free vaccine at doctors’ offices and community clinics across the province for the following groups:last_img

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