Due to the significant uptake in this year’s flu vaccination campaign, influenza vaccine is no longer available in the Central Zone.
This year’s vaccination campaign was one of the most successful in our province’s history, with more Albertans being vaccinated than nearly any other year.
As of this past weekend, all influenza immunization clinics have closed in the Central Zone and will not be reopening this season.
Some doses of vaccine have been reserved for children who have received first doses of influenza vaccine this season, and require a second dose.
Children under the age of nine who are receiving seasonal influenza vaccine for the first time this season require two doses this season to be fully protected. If your child requires a second dose, call Health Link Alberta or your local public health office for information.
Limited doses have also been reserved to address specific outbreaks in health care centres and continuing care sites.
AHS also offers the follow precautions to follow to help avoid spreading the influenza virus. Cover 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.
Throw away tissues after wiping your nose or covering a cough, and wash your hands.
Using soap and warm water, wash your hands thoroughly and often, including after coughing, sneezing, using tissues or the washroom, and before eating or preparing foods.
Alcohol-based hand rub or sanitizer can also be helpful if hands are not visibly soiled. Make a point of keeping hands and fingers away from your eyes, nose and mouth.
If you have symptoms of illness, including fever, cough, diarrhea and/or vomiting, stay home from work, school, daycare or any social function.
Also refrain from visiting family, friends or loved ones in hospitals, care facilities or seniors lodges, until you have fully recovered.
Influenza continues to circulate in communities. Many cases of influenza are best treated at home, through self-care.
For more information on self-care, and guidance on when to seek medical assistance, visit www.albertahealthservices.ca/influenza.
In other influenza news, the family of the young woman in Red Deer who recently died after contracting H5N1, a strain of bird flu, has released the following statement.
She had recently returned from China.
“Our beloved daughter and wife was a hard-working, independent young woman. She grew up in China, and in high school she decided that she wanted to become a nurse. The past 10 years have been dedicated to achieving this goal.
“She came to Canada on her own as a young student to study nursing at Red Deer College. She put herself through school, graduated and earned a job as a registered nurse at the Red Deer Regional Hospital. This was her dream; and she studied and worked extremely hard to achieve this.
“She wanted to help people. She also wanted a career that would allow her to provide for her family and to support those she loved. She did a tremendous amount for her family; she was successful and providing for those in her life. She was a uniquely independent and determined young woman.
“She married her husband a year and a half ago; and together they created a happy life in Red Deer. She worked hard and had saved for a vacation, which she took in December 2013 with her mother. Together, they travelled on a trip which would sadly turn out to be her last.
“She was an energetic woman, who her co-workers have described as the bright light in the room. She was driven, and passionate about her work and most of all her family.
“We are devastated by her death, and we request time to grieve in privacy. We thank you for respecting our wishes.”