For all the ghosts and ghouls running around Saskatchewan, the real fright could be a nasty case of the flu.
The province’s annual flu campaign got underway with free vaccine clinics opening Halloween Monday.
“We always want people to understand the flu is mild, but it can also be a severe illness and even cause a death as well,” said Simon Kapaj, deputy medical health officer for the Saskatoon Health Region.
Kapaj said it’s too early to draw conclusions on this year’s strain of flu, given there have been only three to four confirmed cases so far in the Saskatoon region.
The province’s chief medical health officer said last year, flu season started at the end of January. In 2014, the flu season started in December.
“Getting your flu vaccine end of October, early November will protect you throughout the flu season,” said Dr. Saqib Shahab.
The vaccine will be available through public health clinics across the province, at some physician and nurse practitioner offices and from participating pharmacies.
The province is not offering the child-friendly nasal spray option this year, following research into its decreased effectiveness as the season wears on.
In Saskatchewan, only about one-third of the population gets their flu shot.
The province has ordered 380,000 doses of the vaccine. Last year, 330,000 doses were given out.
Shahab noted people over 65 years old, children six months to five years old, and people with chronic health conditions are at greater risk and should get the vaccine.
People with children under nine years old will have to go to a public health clinic.
The clinics run throughout November.