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Archive for September, 2013
Monday, September 23, 2013

Prairie Mountain Health Launches Flu Campaign in October

Prairie Mountain Health Launches Flu Campaign in October


The best way to protect yourself against the flu is to get vaccinated.  Flu viruses change, so last year’s vaccine may not protect you from this year’s viruses. That is why it’s important to get a flu shot every year.  After the Thanksgiving long weekend, Prairie Mountain Health will launch its annual flu campaign.  Every year, the flu season in Manitoba begins in late fall and usually lasts until spring.  For 2013-2014, the seasonal flu shot is available free of charge to all Manitobans.  It offers protection against three flu strains.  Watch for advertisements and posters in your home community informing you of flu clinic dates and locations. Get the shot, not the flu!


What is the Flu and How is it Spread?
Contrary to what some people think, 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 contract 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 virus can live on hard surfaces for up to 48 hours, on cloth, paper, and tissue for up to 12 hours, and on hands for about 5 minutes!


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.  Although most people will recover from the flu within a week to 10 days, the flu can lead to serious complications such as bacterial infections, bronchitis, pneumonia, and kidney or heart failure.


What is the Flu Vaccine?


Every year, scientists monitor the global spread of flu and decide what flu viruses will most likely cause widespread illness. Each seasonal flu vaccine contains three of these ‘killed’ flu viruses-meaning they can’t harm you or make you sick.  The vaccine helps your body recognize these flu viruses so it can protect you.  Because flu viruses change over time, each year a new flu vaccine has to be developed.  That is why it is so important to get a flu shot every year.


Who Should Get the Flu Vaccine?


All Manitobans are eligible for the flu vaccine.  The flu vaccine is especially important for those at increased risk of serious illness from the flu, as well as their contacts or caregivers. This includes:  anyone with a chronic illness, seniors age 65 years or older, children age 6 months to 59 months, 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.


Are There Any Side Effects?


Vaccines are known to be very safe. It is much safer to get the vaccine than to get the flu. The most common side effect is redness, soreness, and swelling where the needle was given.  Some people may have chills, fever, or fatigue.  These side effects should go away in 1-2 days.


How do I Find out More Information about the Flu?


You can contact your local public health office, nurse practitioner, or physician clinic. You can also visit for more information on the flu.  Check out PMH’s flu clinic dates by visiting:


Former Assiniboine RHA –
Former Parkland RHA –
Former Brandon RHA –
Prairie Mountain Health –


Submitted by:


Shannon Whaley, RN BN, Immunization Coordinator, Prairie Mountain Health (former Brandon)


Shaunna Watt-Dorscheid, RN BN, RPN, Immunization Coordinator, Prairie Mountain Health (former Parkland)


Melanie Sanderson, RN BN, Immunization Coordinator, Prairie Mountain Health (former Assiniboine)



Posted by Regional Health Authority @ 10:49 | E-mail this blog entry to a friend | PermaLink

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