Every year, in October, the Department of Health and Social Services, Government of Nunavut launches its annual influenza 'flu' campaign. The territory has a universial influenza immunization program. This means, that getting your flu shot is free and available at your local health centre, public health in Iqaluit, and even at the out-patient and emergency services at Baffin's Qikitani General Hospital.
Influenza is an illness caused by viruses that infect the respiratory tract. Compared with most other viral respiratory infections, such as the common cold, influenza infection often causes a more severe illness and can lead to death. However, most of the illnesses can be prevented with a vaccine. Nunavummiut, particularly those at risk, should get the annual vaccine, to increase their chances of staying healthy.
In addition to getting vaccinated, the most important way to fight the flu is to practice good hygiene. Remember - Wash your hands well and often in warm, soapy water or use hand sanitizer. Cough and sneeze into your arm – not your hands. And if you do experience flu symptoms, stay in your house and call your health centre for advice. If you would like more information about flu symptoms, flu protection or about annual flu clinics, contact your local health centre or public health office in Iqaluit.
The Department of Health and Social Services also takes a pro-active approach to making sure promotional materials, such as brochures, posters, cards, advertisements, public service announcements and interviews are available to the public during the annual flu season.
One of the easiest ways to stay healthy and avoid the flu during flu season is to get your flu shot. Getting vaccinated can save lives. There are many myths about the flu vaccine, so if there is something that you have heard and are unsure about, contact your local health centre or Public Health office in Iqaluit.