Influenza Vaccination (flu shot)

Influenza (flu) shots in Victoria

What is influenza?

   flu Preventing The Flu Is Everyone’s Responsibility” Public Health Agency Of Canada

Influenza, often called the flu, is an abrupt onset of infection in the nose, throat and lungs caused by a strain of the influenza virus. Influenza is most common in the winter months and spreads easily from person to person through coughing, sneezing or  close face to face contact. Transmission also occurs from hand transfer to a contaminated surface and then to the nose or mouth.  All respiratory and bodily fluids secreted by an infected person should be considered infectious.

How long are you infectious for?

Most healthy people who become ill with influenza may be infectious from the day before symptoms occur to 5-7 days after symptom onset.  Immunocompromised individuals as well as children may shed the virus for more than 10 days after symptoms occur.

How serious is influenza?

Influenza virus infections can cause disease in all age groups.  Young infants and children are more susceptible to infection.  People aged 65 and older, as well as those with medical conditions are more likely to suffer from severe illness, including death, as a result of the influenza virus.

Who should get vaccinated?

The vaccine is recommended for anyone at home or planning to travel during the flu season.  One dose of the vaccine is usually given to adults.  Sometimes two doses are given to children.

The vaccine is also recommended for those who…

  • Have a heart disease
  • Have a chronic lung disease
  • Are patients on steroids
  • Have a suppressed immune system
  • Have HIV
  • Are patients on cancer therapy
  • Are person(s) caring or who live with any of the above.
  • Are working in the health care field.

Who Should Not Be Vaccinated?

Some people should not be vaccinated and/or should consult a physician prior to getting the vaccine:

  • People who have a severe allergy to chicken eggs.
  • People who have had a severe reaction to an influenza vaccination.
  • Children younger than 6 months of age (influenza vaccine is not approved for this age group)
  • People who have a moderate-to-severe illness with a fever (wait until you recover before getting vaccinated)

Are there any side effects?

The flu shot does not cause the flu.  It contains several strains of inactivated (dead) flu virus to help protect against the upcoming strain of influenza.

Almost everyone who gets the influenza vaccines has no serious problems.  The few side effects that may occur include:

  • Soreness, redness, or swelling at vaccination site
  • Fever (low grade)
  • Aches

On rare occasions the flu vaccine can cause severe allergic reaction.