Each year, the Government of the Northwest Territories offers free flu shots to residents to help protect them against the influenza virus.

Dr. Kami Kandola (R) is the Northwest Territories Chief Public Health Officer. The flu affects our Northern population from late December to late April. Arthur C. Green/The Moose 100.1 FM

The influenza virus can be fatal in persons with compromised immune systems, such as seniors and small children or in those with chronic diseases.  Everyone is encouraged to get their flu shot to help protect themselves, those around them and help build community immunity this Winter season.

Dr. Kami Kandola is the Northwest Territories Chief Public Health Officer.

“It’s very important that people get the flu shot and not the flu,” Dr. Kandola said. “Flu clinics are being held across the NWT and running throughout November.”

The influenza vaccine, or flu shot, is a simple jab in the arm which is painless Dr. Kandola says. Immunization side effects are minor. A common side effect is a mild soreness at the site, less common side effects include headaches and muscle pains.

“Most people feel don’t feel anything,” Dr. Kandola said. “You may, initially may feel that needle prick otherwise they’re fine. Participants get a band-aid and they’re good.”

Dr. Kandola says particularly there are people at high risk for flu-related complications such as hospitalizations, even death.

“Those people, particularly at high risk are our seniors’ age 65 and above, young children less than age five, pregnant women, people with chronic illnesses and people living in remote communities just because of access issues,” Dr. Kandola said. “We encourage everyone to get the flu shot.”

Flu clinics are being held in Yellowknife from November 6-8, from 1:00 p.m. till 6:00 p.m. at Northern United Place and the vaccine is being offered free of charge, Dr. Kandola says.

“They’ll be two more flu clinics set up at the Co-op later this month,” Dr. Kandola said. “For those who don’t live in Yellowknife. You can go to the Health and Social Services website and look at your community and see when your flu clinics have been offered.”

The flu is an infection of the respiratory tract that is caused by a virus which changes every year. The flu is easily caught and spread.

The flu affects our Northern population from late December to late April according to Dr. Kandola.

“What we do know is that we’ve already started to see flu cases appear in the Northwest Territories in the past two weeks, mostly in the southern part of the Northwest Territories,” Dr. Kandola said. “So, the flu is already starting to make his appearance. So I can’t emphasize enough how important is to get your flu shot.”

Yearly vaccination prevents the flu or reduces the severity of the illness.

Visit www.hss.gov.nt.ca  for a list of flu shot clinics near you.

agreen@vistaradio.ca

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