With the winter weather upon us, more and more people will be retreating indoors and the flu will sweep communities once more during the year.
Influenza usually only affects a person for a couple of days, but in extreme cases it can cause severe symptoms, which is why it is important to get the flu shot to help avoid getting sick.
Recently the government of Alberta has recognized the importance of the flu shot and has extended the influenza vaccine coverage to include healthy children aged two to four years and healthy adults aged 50 to 64 years.
Those who fit the criteria are eligible to receive the influenza vaccine for free. Thousands of Albertans are also able to receive this vaccine at no cost provided they are at risk for developing serious flu-related complications. Those who may be able to transmit the influenza bug to those at risk are also able to get the vaccine at no charge.
All healthy persons who are five to 49 years of age are still encouraged to get the vaccine even though it is not free to prevent getting it as well as preventing it from being spread to other people.
In Ponoka there will be a flu clinic held at the Ponoka Kinsmen Community Centre from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Oct. 29 and from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Nov. 26. The vaccine is $25 to those who do not qualify for free immunization, everyone should bring their personal health care number.
For more information on the influenza immunization program and other vaccines visit www.health.alberta.ca.