"Flu shots have been proven time and time again to be both safe and effective, and I encourage everyone to take this important step to protect their communities this flu season", Gee said.
Every year in Canada, about 12,200 people are hospitalized and 3,500 people die from influenza or its complications.
Getting a flu shot is especially crucial for people who may be at higher risk for serious complications.
"Influenza, which people often call the flu, is sometimes confused with the common cold, the stomach flu (norovirus) or other illnesses caused by a virus", said Dr. Rakel Kling, Medical Health Officer.
Influenza can spread easily from one person to another through the air from coughing and sneezing or by handling objects contaminated with the virus and then touching your mouth, eyes or nose. "However, influenza is different - it is a serious infection of the airways that can be quite severe". The best way to avoid influenza is to get a flu shot, IH says. "If you are sick, stay home, and keep sick children away from daycares and schools", said Dr. Kling. "Although a young, healthy person might not get very sick from the flu, they can be a carrier and pass it on to someone in a high-risk group who might become seriously ill".
This year's shot offers protection against two influenza A viruses (an H1N1 and an H3N2 virus) and one influenza B virus.
Interior Health's public clinics for those who are eligible for a free flu shot will begin in early November.
Flu shots are available for free through local public health offices, nursing stations, doctor's offices, pharmacy ACCESS Centres or the nearest immunization clinic.
South Dakota health officials are reporting the first flu case of the season. By following this policy, you will help to protect the people you are visiting from getting a potentially serious illness.