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Spread joy, not germs: stay healthy this holiday season

December 6, 2017

EDMONTON – 'Tis the season of celebratory gatherings and – unfortunately – the spread of seasonal illnesses and influenza. 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.

“As of the data posted November 30, we’ve already confirmed more than 1,100 cases of influenza in Alberta,” says Dr. Gerry Predy, AHS' Senior Medical Officer of Health. “You may be healthy right now but keep in mind, good health isn’t contagious; influenza is. To protect your health you need to get immunized.”

More than 958,000 doses of influenza vaccine have been administered to Albertans this season.  While this is a good start, thousands of Albertans remain without protection.

Influenza vaccine continues to be offered to all Albertans (six months of age and older), free of charge. For more information, including local clinic schedules, visit  or call Health Link at 811. Influenza immunization is also available through many pharmacists and physician offices around the province.

“In addition to getting immunized to reduce your risk of influenza, there are a number of steps you should always take to help prevent the spread of germs and illness,” says Dr. Predy.

These include:

  • Covering 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.
  • Washing hands thoroughly and often with soap and warm water after coughing, sneezing, using tissues or the washroom, and before eating or preparing foods.
  • Keeping hands and fingers away from your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Refraining from preparing food for anyone while you’re sick.
  • Staying home – from work, school, social obligations and visiting anyone in care facilities – when sick.

This last point is particularly important, says Dr. Predy.

“Your family and friends don’t want influenza or other illnesses any more than you do. If you’re sick, stay home from work, school, or any social function. Please also do not visit family, friends or loved ones in hospitals, care facilities or seniors lodges until you’ve fully recovered.”

Alberta Health Services is the provincial health authority responsible for planning and delivering health supports and services for more than four million adults and children living in Alberta. Its mission is to provide a patient-focused, quality health system that is accessible and sustainable for all Albertans.

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For media inquiries, contact:

Shannon M. Evans
AHS Communications
[email protected]
mobile: 403-618.1960