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Get the facts on flu

Learn the facts on influenza to help prevent spread

- The virus changes (mutates) every year so that a new vaccine must be administered annually.

- People who may be at increased risk include: seniors, people with chronic health conditions (especially heart or lung conditions), aboriginal people, or those with compromised immune systems. You should also get a flu shot if you are a caregiver or in close contact with someone who is at increased risk of complications from flu.

- Those eligible for a free flu shot include: people 65 and older and their care-givers, children and adults with chronic health conditions and their household contacts, health care workers, emergency responders, healthy children aged six to 23 months; household contacts and caregivers of children aged 0 to 23 months, pregnant women who will be in their third trimester during the influenza season, residents of nursing homes and other chronic care facilities, owners and operators of poultry farms, aboriginal peoples, people who are very obese (those with a body mass index of 40 or greater), corrections officers and inmates in provincial correctional institutions, and those who provide care or service in potential outbreak settings housing high-risk persons (e.g. crew on ships.)

- Influenza symptoms can include fever, headache, muscle pain, runny nose, sore throat, extreme tiredness, and cough, but you can spread the influenza virus to others before you even show any symptoms.

- Each year in B.C., hundreds of people die from influenza or complications from influenza, such as pneumonia.

- To find the nearest flu shot clinic, visit the B.C. flu clinic locator at www. health.gov.bc.ca/flu or call HealthLink BC at 8-1-1.

There are currently more than a dozen scheduled public health clinics in New Westminster, at Royal City Centre Mall.

There are also more than a dozen scheduled public health clinics at community centres and the public health unit in Burnaby.

For a full list of clinics and times in both New Westminster and Burnaby, see Christina Myers' blog at http: //blogs.canada.com/ author/cmyersburnaby.

-facts on influenza are from www.immunizebc.ca and the Fraser Health Authority.

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