Influenza immunization clinics are now underway in the Sun Country Health Region (SCHR), and everyone is encouraged to receive the seasonal flu vaccine.
The region's priority in the initial weeks of the program is to protect the people who are most at risk for complications from influenza.
Individuals who will benefit most from influenza immunization include:
*Adults 65 years of age and older;
*People with chronic health conditions, weakened immune systems, or severe obesity;
*Children between six months and 59 months of age;
“We also want to protect the family members and contacts of the individuals listed above so they don’t spread influenza to the people most at risk for complications and hospitalization for influenza,” said SCHR chief medical health officer Dr. Shauna Hudson.
Other groups that are also a priority for immunization include:
*Household members and close contacts of infants under 6 months of age;
*Child care and day care workers;
*Health care workers, health care students, and health care volunteers.
Hudson strongly encourages all adults 65 years of age and older to get their flu shot.
“Getting your flu shot is the best way to protect yourself and decrease your risk of pneumonia and hospitalization. Getting your flu shot protects your grandchildren too. If you don’t get the flu you can’t spread it to them,” Hudson said.
Dates and locations of the clinics are available on the SCHR website.
Dr. Hudson also reminds people not to visit long-term care facilities when they have a cold or the flu.
“People can decrease the risk of spreading influenza and other respiratory infections by not visiting long-term care residents when they have cold and flu symptoms,” she says.
In addition to getting the flu shot, the public can also help prevent the spread of influenza to friends and family by coughing and sneezing into their sleeve, and by using proper handwashing techniques, with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer