Flu confirmed in Prince Edward Island

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Not too late to arrange for a flu shot

Nurse Laura Gill administers a flu vaccine in Ottawa.

The first case of influenza for the flu season has been confirmed, says the province’s chief public health officer.

“Islanders are reminded to follow the necessary measures to prevent and control the spread of infection, including the best preventative measure ­ — getting the annual flu shot,” Dr. Heather Morrison said Monday.

“Wash your hands often, cough or sneeze into your sleeve, and stay home if you are sick.’’

The 2013-2014 seasonal influenza vaccine is protective against three strains of influenza: Influenza A (H3N2), Influenza A (pH1N1) and Influenza B.

Prince Edward Island¹s first case is the Influenza A (pH1N1) strain that reflects the majority of influenza cases across Canada this season.

Typical symptoms of influenza include fever, headache, aches and pains, cough, and sore throat.

Morrison says Islanders can still get the flu shot. Flu immunization clinics through Health PEI are open to the public. Call 1-855-354-4358 (4FLU) to make an appointment.

The vaccination is free again this year at the public clinics for seniors age 65 and over, children aged six to 59 months, pregnant women and household contacts of pregnant women.

Islanders can also contact their family physician to receive the vaccine.

Morrison says vaccination is recognized as the single most effective way of reducing the impact of influenza, especially for those most at risk for complications. All Islanders six months and older, particularly those at high risk of complications, are encouraged to get vaccinated as it is the best defence against the spread of influenza virus.

For more information on influenza or where to get the influenza vaccine, visit www.gov.pe.ca/flu

Geographic location: Prince Edward Island, Canada

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