News release

Influenza Vaccination Campaign Begins

Nova Scotians can help protect themselves and their loved ones from influenza by getting a flu shot this year.

Influenza vaccine is free for all Nova Scotians. With flu season fast approaching, the province is encouraging everyone to be immunized.

"Immunization is a safe, simple, and effective way to protect yourself and your family against the flu," said Health and Wellness Minister David Wilson. "Nova Scotia's publicly funded immunization program is an important part of our commitment to promote health, prevent illness and provide better care, sooner."

Seasonal flu vaccine is available from family doctors, family practice nurses, nurse practitioners and clinics offered by Public Health Services, family practices and workplaces.

While the vaccine is recommended for all Nova Scotians, it is especially important for people at high risk of complications including seniors, people age six months to five years, Aboriginal people, pregnant women and anyone with chronic medical conditions such as heart disease, asthma and diabetes. This also includes those who live with, or care for, people in high risk groups.

Flu symptoms often include sudden high fever, headache, general aches and pains, fatigue and weakness, a runny, stuffy nose, sneezing and sore throat, but can lead to more severe illness such as pneumonia or even death.

"While most people will recover within a week or two, influenza sends thousands of Nova Scotians to doctors and emergency departments every year. Vaccination is the single most effective way to prevent the flu," said Nova Scotia's deputy chief medical officer of health Dr. Frank Atherton.

Proper hygiene, such as handwashing and people covering their nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, is also important to prevent the spread of influenza and many other infections. People with flu symptoms should stay home and minimize close contact with others.

Last year, about 35 per cent of Nova Scotians received flu vaccine.

For more information on the flu, visit www.gov.ns.ca/flu .

FOR BROADCAST USE:

Nova Scotians are encouraged to protect themselves and their loved ones from influenza by getting a flu shot this year.

The flu vaccine is free again this year and, with flu season fast approaching, Nova Scotians are encouraged to get immunized.

The flu vaccine is available at doctors' offices, community clinics and workplace clinics across the province.

The flu shot is safe, effective and the best line of defence against seasonal influenza.

Last year, about 35 per cent of Nova Scotians were immunized against influenza.

-30-

Media Contact:

Theresa Hawkesworth
Health and Wellness 902-424-6883 E-mail: