What is influenza or the flu?
It is an infection of the nose, throat and lungs caused by the influenza virus. Most cases occur in the winter months from November to March.
How is the virus spread?
It is spread through the air when someone talks, coughs, or sneezes. When other’s breathe in the virus they can become sick. It can also be spread by handling objects that have been coughed or sneezed on.
How can influenza be prevented?
- Get the seasonal flu vaccine!
- Wash your hands often, or use an alcohol based hand sanitizer
- Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing
- Stay home and rest when you are sick!
What are the symptoms of the flu?
- Fever of 38 degrees celsius or high
- headache and muscle aches
- Loss of appetite
Most people feel better within a week. However, some may develop more serious complications such as pneumonia, which requires hospitalization. Persons with chronic illnesses, children under the age of 2, pregnant women and adults over 65 are more at risk of developing complications.
Who should get the vaccine?
All Albertans aged six months and older should receive the flu vaccine each year!
Is the vaccine safe?
Yes. In Canada vaccines undergo rigorous testing and must pass a licensing procedure before they can be used.
Who should not get the vaccine?
- Those with serious allergies to eggs or chicken
- Those who have had a serious reaction to the flu vaccine in the past
- children younger than 6 months
What are the common side effects to the vaccine?
- Mild pain/redness around when the needle was given
- Mild fever, muscle aches and pains.
These side effects are typically mild and usually disappear within 24-48 hours of receiving the vaccine.
Do I need two flu vaccines?
No. The seasonal flu vaccination protects against H1N1 as well as two other influenza strains.
Where can I get my flu vaccine?
The pharmacists at Stafford Pharmacy administer flu vaccines beginning in October of each year. The flu vaccine is NO CHARGE for all Alberta residents as it is funded by Alberta Health. You can see find more information about the seasonal flu vaccination program posted on our site each year. Each year the flu vaccination program is run from early October through to March of the following year to coincide with the usual flu season.
For information about the current season’s influenza vaccination program see this page for information.