For additional information on Influenza, visit The flu | ontario.ca.
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.
Flu symptoms usually appear one to four days after a person has acquired the virus and can be similar to symptoms of COVID-19. Common symptoms of influenza can include;
While anyone can get the flu, individuals in the following groups are considered to be at high risk of severe complications:
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.
Similar to COVID-19, antiviral drugs are available for those at increased risk of serious complications from influenza infection. Speak with your healthcare provider if you think you would benefit from antiviral treatment.
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.
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.
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.
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