Influenza (Flu)

 

You can get this year’s (2022/23) influenza vaccine at participating pharmacies in Grey-Bruce or through your health care provider.

The Grey Bruce Health Unit will also be providing flu shots at walk-in clinics at the Public Health building in Owen Sound. Clinics are planned for Nov. 17, Nov. 24, and Dec. 8 from 9 a.m. to noon and Dec. 1 from 1 to 4 p.m. No appointments required.

What is the flu?

Seasonal influenza, also known as “the flu,” is a common, highly contagious respiratory infection that’s caused primarily by Influenza A and Influenza B viruses. The flu typically circulates in Ontario in the fall and winter.

Symptoms – which can include fever, chills, cough, muscle/body aches, a sore throat, and extreme tiredness – usually appear one to four days after a person has acquired the virus. Most people will recover within seven to 10 days. Symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea are more common in children.

How does the flu spread from person to person?

Individuals with the flu can spread the virus when they cough, sneeze or talk. Droplets from an infected person can land in the mouth or nose of others who are nearby or can be inhaled into a person’s lungs. People can also get the flu by touching a surface that has the flu virus on it or by shaking hands with someone who has the flu and then touching their own eyes, mouth, or nose.

Who is most at risk of influenza-related complications and/or hospitalization?

How can people protect themselves from coming down with the flu?

The influenza vaccine is the most effective way to prevent influenza illness and influenza-related complications.

Flu vaccines are free, and safe – including for kids and pregnant individuals – well-tolerated and are available via primary care providers, participating pharmacies, and Grey Bruce Health Unit clinics.

While the National Advisory Committee on Immunization strongly recommends that individuals get vaccinated before the onset of the flu season, the influenza vaccine can be administered until the end of the season.

The bottom line is, the sooner someone can get vaccinated within the flu season, the better.

Other ways to avoid getting and spreading the flu virus include: washing your hands often with soap and water, using a hand sanitizer with at least 70 percent alcohol content when soap and water are not available, covering your mouth when coughing or sneezing, not touching your face, staying at home when sick, and cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and shared items.

Who should get the flu vaccine?

Individuals six months of age and older who do not have contraindications to the vaccine should get the influenza vaccine each year.

Vaccination is required each year because the contents of flu vaccines can vary from year to year. The World Health Organization reviews the specific strains in flu vaccines annually and can change them to provide a better match against the strains that the organization expects to see circulating in that given year. In addition, a person’s immune response to the flu vaccine may not continue beyond a year.

Can individuals receive the influenza vaccine and the COVID-19 vaccine at the same time?

For people aged five and up, yes!

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommends that for individuals five years of age and older, COVID-19 vaccines may be given simultaneously with, or at any time before or after, the influenza vaccine.

However, at this time, it is recommended that children aged six months to five years wait at least 14 days between a COVID-19 vaccination and a non-COVID-19 vaccine.

Can the influenza vaccine also protect someone from avian flu?

It’s particularly important for people who may have exposure to sick birds to get a seasonal flu vaccine, ideally two weeks before their potential exposure, if possible.

Seasonal flu vaccination will not prevent infection from bird flu viruses, but it can reduce the risk of getting sick with human and bird flu viruses at the same time.

Where can I get more information about seasonal influenza and the vaccine?

The Grey Bruce Health Unit has developed several resources to help answer your questions about influenza and the flu vaccine.

This includes an Influenza Immunization Question & Answers document and infographics on Vaccine Safety and Influenza Prevention in Seniors.

You can also find more information about the flu on the Ministry of Health’s “The flu” webpage and Public Health Ontario’s Influenza webpage.

 

Don't wait to get the flu vaccine!

Don't wait to get the Flu Vaccine

 

Avoid the Flu

Government of Ontario: http://www.ontario.ca/page/flu-facts#!/

 

Online Resources

Immunize.ca- http://www.immunize.ca

Ministry of Health (for Health Care Professionals)

Government of Ontario- http://www.ontario.ca/page/flu-facts#!/

Government of Canada- http://www.canada.ca/flu

 

Additional Resources

Influenza Q&A

Vaccine Safety

Influenza prevention in Seniors

 

 

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