What it Influenza?
- An infection of the nose, throat, and lungs that is caused by a virus
- Symptoms start suddenly and may include:
- Sore throat
- Runny nose
- Muscle aches
- Loss of appetite
- Feeling tired
- Vomiting and diarrhea (can happen but is more common in young children)
- Pneumonia is the most common complication of influenza
- Influenza can make other health problems worse
- Each year, more than 12,000 people in Canada are admitted to hospital and 3,500 die from influenza
How does Influenza spread?
- The virus can be breathed in so it is easily spread when an infected person sneezes, coughs, or even talks
- People can be exposed to it when they touch something that carries the virus (e.g., hands, objects) and then touch their eyes, nose or mouth
- Influenza can spread before symptoms start
How can I prevent spreading influenza?
- Get immunized
- Wash your hands with warm water and soap or use an alcohol-based hand rub (hand sanitizer) often
- Cover your cough or sneeze into your arm or a tissue, not your hand
- Stay home when you are sick
Who should get the influenza vaccine?
Everyone (6 months and older) should have influenza vaccine. It is free if you live, work or go to school in Alberta. Everyone is at risk of influenza, and anyone can get very sick and develop complications. However, the risk is highest if you:
- Have certain health problems (e.g., heart/lung conditions, diabetes, weak immune system, morbid obesity/very overweight)
- Live in a care facility (e.g., nursing home)
- Are 65 years or older
- Are a child under 5 years old
- Are pregnant
- Are Indigenous
How well does influenza vaccine work?
The vaccine lowers your risk of getting influenza by about half. The influenza vaccine can keep you from getting influenza, make influenza less severe if you do get it, and keeps you from spreading influenza to your family and others. Protection starts about 2 weeks after you get the vaccine.
Where can I get the vaccine?
Influenza immunizations are available at:
- AHS Influenza Immunization Clinics
- Pharmacies *
- Family doctor offices *
* Call ahead to confirm if this service is available from your provider
AHS (2018, July 1). Influenza Vaccine Information Sheet. Retrieved from ImmunizeAlberta.ca: https://www.albertahealthservices.ca/assets/healthinfo/hi-flu-influenza-vaccine-information-sheet.pdf