Saturday, December 3, 2022

Alberta’s new medical officer of health asking Albertans to roll up their sleeves

Alberta’s new chief medical officer of health is encouraging Albertans to get their flu shots and take steps to help reduce the spread of influenza.

“The annual influenza, or flu, season is here. Albertans are encouraged to get their flu shots and take steps to help reduce the spread of influenza,” says Dr. Mark Joffe. “Winter is historically the peak season for respiratory infections. Like other jurisdictions, Alberta is seeing an early rise in seasonal infections including influenza, Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) and COVID-19 and is expecting a severe season.”

He adds that in Australia, the highest rates of influenza disease were in children and teenagers, and children under 16 years of age accounted for the majority of influenza hospitalizations.

Influenza can also have a severe impact on the elderly. While most children, youth and adults recover from the flu without complications, some can get very sick and need to be treated in hospital. We can expect to see similar outcomes in Alberta.”

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Over the last few weeks, Alberta has seen an increase in reports of symptoms such as cough and fever in schools and daycares.

Dr. Joffe is encouraging Albertans to take simple, daily actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses such as staying home when sick, make the choice to stay up to date on your vaccinations, wear a well-fitting, high-quality mask, and if possible, avoid close contact with people who are sick. He also advises us to hand-wash often and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home.

Influenza and COVID-19 vaccines are available at participating pharmacies and community medical clinics and select AHS sites. Bookings are available through the Alberta Vaccine Booking System at alberta.ca/vaccine or by calling Health Link at 811.

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