Flu shot clinics will begin Oct. 25

Even though the peak of influenza season may be months away, it’s not too early to get your flu shot.

Beginning October 25, the County of Lambton Community Health Services Department will launch community seasonal influenza vaccine (flu shot) clinics using a variety of delivery options to improve access, choices and reduce wait times for Lambton residents.

Seasonal flu vaccine will be offered at community, school, and some workplace clinics as well as by appointment with local healthcare providers. For a list of all community clinics visit www.lambtonhealth.on.ca or call the Flu Info Line for weekly clinic updates at 519-383-3812 or toll-free 1-800-667-1839 ext. 3812.

“Flu season generally runs from September to March and usually peaks in December, but it can occur earlier,” says Vicki Hawksworth, Supervisor Environmental Health and Services Department. “We recommend residents receive their flu shots in late October and November each year to allow the body time to build up immunity to circulating flu viruses.”

This year’s flu vaccine will have the H1N1 vaccine, as it has for the past three years, and two additional strains not included in last year’s vaccine. The flu shot provides protection for four to six months.

All individuals aged six months or older, who live, work or attend school in Ontario should get a seasonal flu shot. It is recommended for those in the following high risk categories:

• 65 years of age or older
• Six months to four years of age
• Chronic health conditions
• Residents of a nursing home or chronic care facility
• Healthy pregnant women (especially in third trimester)
• Severely obese persons (BMI ? 40)
• Aboriginal peoples
• Healthcare and other care providers
• Household contact with someone at high risk:
o infant under six months of age
o expected newborn during flu season
• Provide child care to children under 24 months of age
• Provide services in closed settings to high risk persons
• Provide essential community services
• Direct contact with avian-influenza infected poultry

“Receiving your flu shot each year is the best method to prevent flu-related illness, reduce the severity of illness, and reduce the spread of the flu virus in the community,” says Dr. Sudit Ranade, Medical Officer of Health for the County of Lambton.

Tips to stay healthy and prevent flu-related illness include:

• Get your flu shot each year.
• Wash your hands often with soap and warm water. Keep alcohol-based hand sanitizer available as an alternative.
• Keep surfaces and items disinfected.
• Cough or sneeze into a tissue or your sleeve.
• Eat a balanced diet high in fruits and vegetables. Many fruits and vegetables contain nutrients that help you fight illness.
• If you have any flu-like symptoms, stay home until you feel better.

To serve residents more efficiently, please bring an Ontario driver’s licence or health card to the clinics; services will still be provided if identification is not available.

All clinics hosted by the Community Health Service Department are conducted in a fragrance-free environment. Please refrain from using perfumes, colognes and scented cosmetics if you plan to attend a clinic.

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