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Elgin St. Thomas Pubic Health encourages parents and caregivers to keep their young ones safe for the holidays: give the influenza vaccine.

In any influenza season, the highest number of cases occurs in children between ages one and four years. During the 2012-2013 influenza season in Elgin St. Thomas, 50% of children under the age of 5 years, who were tested for and diagnosed with influenza, had to be hospitalized because of their illness and its complications. According to Dr. Arlene King, our province's Chief Medical Officer of Health, "Many people understand that the elderly are at higher risk of serious illness or even death as a result of influenza, but what they may not realize is that young children – especially those under five – are among those at highest risk. That's why [the province is] issuing a special appeal to parents to make sure that their young children are protected by getting the flu shot."

Annual flu shots are the best way to protect yourself and your family from this illness. The sooner your children are vaccinated the better, since the vaccine takes about two weeks to become fully effective. Children over 6 months of age can get their flu shot at doctors' offices and at public health immunization clinics. Children under 6 months cannot get the flu shot, so other family members should be vaccinated to protect them.

It's not too late to vaccinate. An additional community flu clinic will take place on Monday, December 23, 2013 from 1 - 4 pm at the Health Unit on 99 Edward St., St. Thomas, ON. For more information, call 519-631-9900 or visit

Don't Ruin the Holidays; Get the Shot and Stay Healthy.

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