October 29, 2007

Beat the flu bug. Get your flu shot.


The Regional Municipality of York begins its annual flu campaign


NEWMARKET It is almost flu season and flu vaccine is again available free of charge to all Ontario residents.  York Region Community and Health Services encourages residents to get their flu shot.


Influenza, commonly called the flu, is caused by a virus that is easy to catch and easy to spread.  The flu season generally runs from mid November to April each year.  Flu symptoms include headache, muscle ache, cough, sore throat, fever, fatigue and weakness.  The flu can lead to more serious illnesses which may result in hospitalization or even death.


Each year, many York Region residents are affected by influenza.  A flu shot coupled with good health protection practices, such as proper and frequent hand washing and staying home from work/school when you are sick, can minimize the risk of illness for residents and their families this flu season.


Health Canada and the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) encourage all healthy adults and children over the age of six months to get a flu shot every year.  In particular, those who have a

long-term health complication should receive a vaccination.


"The influenza virus can have a serious impact on individuals who have pre-existing health problems, such as heart and kidney disease, diabetes or a weakened immune system," said Dr. Karim Kurji, York Region's Medical Officer of Health and Director of Public Health Programs.  "Family members and co-workers of people in these higher risk groups are also encouraged to get immunized.  Even healthy individuals can unknowingly pass on the virus."


Influenza vaccine has been shown to prevent illness in approximately 70 to 90-per cent of healthy children and adults.  The flu is much worse than a cold.  Even healthy young people can become very sick and develop serious complications.


Residents can get their flu shot from their physician, participating workplace or at one of the many community flu clinics offered by York Region Community and Health Services


 Influenza is not what is commonly called the "stomach flu" and does not usually include vomiting and diarrhea, which are caused by different viruses.  The vaccine cannot give you the flu because it does not contain any live viruses.  This vaccine will not protect against avian flu, which is a bird illness circulating in parts of Asia and Europe.


For more information on influenza or to obtain the current community flu clinic schedule, please contact York Region Health Connection at 1-800-361-5653 (toll free) or visit www.york.ca/flu


For more information on The Regional Municipality of York, please visit www.york.ca


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Media Contact:         Jennifer Mitchell-Emmerson, Community and Health Services, York Region

                                 Phone:  905 830-4444, ext. 4016 or After-hours Cell 905 716-2717

                                 Email: jennifer.mitchellemmerson@york.ca

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