(BLACK PRESS file photo)

(BLACK PRESS file photo)

AHS: Spread joy, not germs: stay healthy this holiday season

More than 660 cases of influenza have been confirmed in Alberta

’Tis the season of celebratory gatherings but also of seasonal illnesses and influenza.

To help ensure your holiday season is a happy and healthy one, Alberta Health Services (AHS) is reminding all Albertans to protect their health and get immunized against influenza.

As of Dec. 5, more than 660 cases of influenza have been confirmed in Alberta, and more than one million doses of influenza vaccine have been administered to Albertans. While this is a good start, hundreds of thousands of Albertans remain without protection against influenza.

Influenza vaccine continues to be offered to all Albertans (six months of age and older), free of charge. For more information, including local clinic schedules, visit www.ahs.ca/influenza or call Health Link at 811. Influenza immunization is also available through many pharmacists and physician offices around the province.

In addition to getting immunized to reduce the risk of influenza, there are a number of steps Albertans should always take to help prevent the spread of germs and illness.

These include:

  • Covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when sneezing or coughing. If you don’t have a tissue, always cough or sneeze into your arm, not into your hands.
  • Washing hands thoroughly and often with soap and warm water after coughing, sneezing, using tissues or the washroom, and before eating or preparing foods.
  • Keeping hands and fingers away from your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Refraining from preparing food for anyone while you’re sick.
  • Staying home – from work, school, social obligations and visiting anyone in care facilities – when sick. Do not visit family, friends or loved ones in hospitals, care facilities or seniors’ lodges until you’ve fully recovered.

Alberta Health Services is the provincial health authority responsible for planning and delivering health supports and services for more than four million adults and children living in Alberta. Its mission is to provide a patient-focused, quality health system that is accessible and sustainable for all Albertans.

-Submitted by Alberta Health Services