Gateway Gazette

AHS Weekly Wellness News: Get Immunized, Before Influenza Arrives

It happens every year: influenza arrives in Alberta. The good news is, influenza vaccine gets here first. All Albertans are encouraged to take advantage and get immunized before influenza arrives.

Caused by a virus that attacks the respiratory system, influenza can be a serious illness and is easily spread from person to person. Although some individuals (pregnant women, seniors, children, and individuals with underlying health conditions or compromised immune systems) are at greater risk for severe complications, without immunization this fall, even healthy Albertans are without protection against this illness.

Each year, influenza vaccine is developed to protect us against the strains of virus likely to circulate in our community. When you get immunized, your immune system is prompted to respond and produce antibodies that will arm you against the influenza viruses if – and more likely, when – you are exposed to them again, throughout the season.

Without immunization, your body will not have the opportunity to build its immunity – or armour – against influenza, before being exposed.

Alberta’s annual influenza immunization program begins Oct. 20, offering influenza vaccine, free of charge, to all Albertans six months of age and older. Be it through dozens of drop-in Alberta Health Services’ influenza immunization clinics or through your local pharmacist or physician, this season, get protected, not infected.

For more info, including local clinic schedules, visit www.albertahealthservices.ca/influenza, or call Health Link Alberta at 1-866-408-5465.

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