Influenza is a contagious viral infection in the nose, throat and lungs. The flu can be very serious. Flu causes about 12,200 hospitalizations and 3,500 deaths in Canada each year.
The flu vaccine is the best way to prevent its spread. Talk to your health care provider or visit a participating pharmacy to get the flu vaccine.
What are the symptoms?
Common flu symptoms include:
- Runny or Stuffy Nose
- Sore Throat
- Muscle or Body Aches
- Ear Pain, Vomiting, or Diarrhea in Children
Some side effects of the flu vaccine (fever, headache, fatigue) can look similar to COVID-19 symptoms. If these occur, they usually begin soon after vaccination and last 1-2 days. Seek health care advice if symptoms persist.
How can I prevent the flu?
Follow these steps to protect yourself, your family and your community from the flu:
- Get a flu shot every year
- Clean your hands often
- Cover your coughs and sneezes
- Clean and disinfect items and surfaces that are touched a lot
- Stay home when you are sick
Is the flu vaccine safe?
The flu vaccine is very safe. The flu vaccine may cause mild side effects such as a sore arm or redness where the needle was given. It cannot cause the flu.
Who should get the flu vaccine?
Everyone 6 months of age and older should get the flu vaccine every year, especially:
- Pregnant women
- People with health problems
- Anyone who takes care of children, elderly people or people with health problems
Who should not get the flu vaccine?
The flu shot is not recommended for:
- Infants under 6 months of age
- Anyone who has had a serious reaction to the vaccine in the past
- Anyone with a serious allergy to any component of the vaccine
Where can I get the flu vaccine?
- Anyone 6 months to up to 2 years of age will be directed to their primary care provider for a flu shot.
- Anyone aged 2 and older is encouraged to visit a participating pharmacy or their primary care provider to arrange a flu shot.
Excerpts from Southwestern Public Health (October 2022)