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PMH Flu Clinics start October 17th across the Region
by Regional Health Authority, 10/5/2015 2:13:08 PM

Get Vaccinated—DON’T SPREAD THE FLU!
Every year, the flu season in Manitoba begins in late fall and usually lasts until spring.  For 2015-2016, the flu vaccine is available free of charge to all Manitobans.  It offers protection against four flu virus strains, including H1N1. Prairie Mountain Health launches its flu campaign after the Thanksgiving long weekend.  Watch for ads and posters in your home community advertising flu clinic dates and locations.  Also check out the Prairie Mountain Health Facebook page and Twitter page for more information!

What is the Flu and How is it Spread?
The flu is not a stomach virus, nor is it the common cold.  The flu is a respiratory virus, and it is spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes. You can also get the flu when a person touches a surface with flu virus on it and then touches his or her nose, mouth, or eyes.
The flu is very contagious, and people can spread the virus before they show any symptoms.  Some people will not have symptoms, but can carry the virus and spread it to others.  The flu can lead to serious complications such as bacterial infections, bronchitis, pneumonia, and kidney or heart failure.

What is the Flu Vaccine?
For most people, the flu vaccine is given as a needle in the arm.  Healthy children 2 to 17 years of age can also receive a spray that is put inside the nose (FluMist®). All flu vaccines are approved by Health Canada, and will be provided at no charge to Manitobans.
Every year, scientists monitor the global spread of flu and decide what flu viruses will most likely cause widespread illness. The flu vaccine helps your body recognize these flu viruses so it can protect you. 

Why Do I Need A Flu Shot Every Year?
Because flu viruses change over time, each year a new flu vaccine has to be developed.  The protection offered by a flu shot will also decrease over time, so it very important to get a flu shot every year.

Who Should Get the Flu Vaccine?
The flu vaccine is recommended for all Manitobans over 6 months of age. 
Some people are at greater risk of serious complications from the flu.  The flu vaccine is strongly recommended for the following individuals:  children age 6 months to 59 months, those with a chronic illness, seniors aged 65 years or older, healthy pregnant women, residents of personal care homes or long- term care facilities, health care workers and first responders, individuals of Aboriginal ancestry, and people who are severely overweight or obese. The flu vaccine is also recommended for household contacts or caregivers of these people.

Are There Any Side Effects?
Vaccines are known to be very safe. It is much safer to get the flu vaccine than to get the flu. The most common side effect of the injectable flu vaccine is redness, soreness, and swelling where the needle was given.  Some people will experience muscle aches or fever, lasting 1-2 days.  With the intranasal flu vaccine, the most common side effects are a runny nose or nasal congestion. 

How do I Find out More Information about the Flu?
You can contact your local public health office, nurse practitioner, pharmacy, or physician clinic. You can also visit for more information on the flu and to find flu clinics in your area.

References:  MB Health & Canadian Immunization Guide Chapter on Influenza and Statement on Seasonal Influenza Vaccine for 2015-2016

Submitted by;
Shannon Whaley, RN BN, Immunization Coordinator, Prairie Mountain Health
Terri-Lynn Archambault, RN BN, Immunization Coordinator, Prairie Mountain Health
Melanie Sanderson, RN BN, Immunization Coordinator, Prairie Mountain Health

PLEASE NOTE:  For the 2015-2016 flu season, the intranasal (FluMist) flu vaccine will also be available.  However, due to production delays, FluMist may not be available until the week of
 October 26th.   For more information please contact your local public health office.

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