CHARLOTTETOWN – Deaths from the flu across Canada are part of the normal annual flu season, best prevented with a vaccine, which is still available in P.E.I., says the Island’s chief health officer.
“We have had H1N1 lab-confirmed cases on P.E.I. (every year) since 2009,” said Dr. Heather Morrison in a news release. The H1N1 strain has been included in the vaccine since that time. Islanders are strongly encouraged to get a flu shot annually to help prevent and control the spread of the infection.
There is one H1N1 lab-confirmed case on P.E.I. this flu season, and more expected, Morrison said.
Alberta reports 1,000 confirmed cases of flu with five deaths this season. Ontario reports six deaths from the flu and three deaths in Saskatchewan.
A Harris-Decima poll, done for The Canadian Press, found that 44 per cent of Canadians have had or plan to get the flu vaccine this year. The poll found those aged 18 to 34 and those with children in their households were the two demographics which had the highest rates of flu-shot converts than any other.
“Vaccination is the single most effective way of reducing the impact of influenza, especially for those most at risk for complications,” said Morrison.
“Islanders are reminded to follow the necessary measures to prevent and control the spread of infection, including the best preventative measure – getting the annual flu shot. Wash your hands often, cough or sneeze into your sleeve, and stay home if you are sick.”
Typical symptoms of influenza include fever, headache, aches and pains, cough, and sore throat.
Flu immunization clinics through Health P.E.I. are open to the public.
Call 1-855-354-4358 (4FLU) to make an appointment.
The vaccination is free at the public clinics for seniors age 65 and over, children aged 6- 59 months, pregnant women and household contacts of pregnant women. Islanders can also contact their family physician to receive the vaccine.
All Islanders six months and older, particularly those at high risk of complications, are encouraged to get vaccinated as it is the best defence against the spread of influenza virus.
For more information on influenza or where to get the influenza vaccine, visitwww.gov.pe.ca/flu