(File photo)

(File photo)

AHS: Spread joy, not germs: stay healthy this holiday season

To help ensure the holiday season is a happy and healthy one, Alberta Health Services (AHS) is reminding all Albertans to protect their health and get immunized against influenza and COVID-19.

More than 1 million Albertans have stepped up to receive their influenza vaccine this season. While this is a good start, some Albertans remain without protection. The influenza vaccine is available to all Albertans six months of age and older, free of charge. COVID-19 vaccines, including boosters, may also be offered during the same influenza vaccine appointment. It is safe for those five years of age and older to get their influenza vaccine and COVID-19 vaccine at the same time.

AHS is offering vaccine through public health clinics to: children under five years of age and their family and household members. individuals who live in a community where there are no other immunizing healthcare providers. individuals who do not have a provincial health care number. Children under five years of age must be immunized at an AHS clinic or participating doctor’s office. Albertans five years of age and older can get immunized at participating pharmacies and doctor’s offices. Some sites provide walk-in services. For more information, to book your influenza vaccine, or find the closest service near you, visit www.ahs.ca/vaccine or call Health Link at 811.

In addition to getting immunized, there are more ways you can protect yourself and loved ones from illness: Wash your hands thoroughly and often with soap and warm water after coughing, sneezing, using tissues or the washroom, and before eating or preparing foods. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when sneezing or coughing. If you don’t have a tissue, always cough or sneeze into your arm, not into your hands. Keep your hands and fingers away from your eyes, nose and mouth.

Regularly clean and disinfect surfaces that are touched often, such as doorknobs light switches, and counters. Stay home – from work, school, social activities and visiting anyone in care facilities – when sick.

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