May 24,

Influenza (Flu)

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Influenza (Flu)

Check out what Rick Mercer has to say about getting the flu shot!


Stay healthy this flu season!

Influenza, commonly known as “the flu” is a serious, acute respiratory illness that can lead to pneumonia. It is caused by a virus, and different strains of the influenza virus circulate each flu season. It’s important to get your flu shot every year so you’re protected with the vaccine designed to match the virus strains that are currently active.

The flu  vaccine is provided free of charge each year to Ontario residents and is available through your family doctor or at any Health Unit Immunization Clinic.

For more information about the flu, click here.

Should I get the flu shot if I’m pregnant?

Yes. The National Advisory Council on Immunization recommends the seasonal flu shot for healthy pregnant women.  While pregnant women are no more likely to get the flu than the rest of the population, they are more likely to develop complications from an influenza infection. This is because during pregnancy, their immune system is suppressed. Pregnant women, especially those in the second and third trimesters, and women up to six weeks after delivery are at a higher risk of developing complications, such as pneumonia, from influenza. Flu shots are safe and recommended for all pregnant women.

How can I avoid the flu?

The best way to avoid the flu: get the flu shot.

  • Getting the flu shot is the most effective way of avoiding the virus because it helps your body build the defenses it needs to fight the flu.

Wash your hands with soap and water thoroughly and often.

  • Even if you are immunized, proper hand cleaning is an important way to guard against and limit the spread of the many illnesses.
  • Viruses can live on your hands for up to five minutes and they can live on hard surfaces that you touch with your hands – like countertops and telephones – for up to two days. Wash hands for at least 15 seconds or more.

Keep an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (gel or wipes) handy at work, home and in your car. It needs to be at least 60% alcohol to be effective.

  • Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are as good as soap and water to clean your hands, unless they are visibly dirty.

Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze and throw the tissue out.

  • Cough into your upper sleeve if you don’t have a tissue.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

  • The flu virus usually enters the body through the eyes, nose or mouth.

Avoid large crowds of people where viruses can spread easily.

Stay home when you are sick.

Keep common surfaces and items clean and disinfected.

Last modified on Nov 28, 2012