What is Influenza?
Influenza (the flu) is a serious illness. It is caused by influenza A and B viruses and occurs in Canada every year. Influenza causes fever, cough, headache, muscle soreness, sore throat and stuffy nose. Influenza can lead to pneumonia. It can also make other illnesses worse, especially chronic lung and heart disease.
Influenza spreads very easily from an infected person to others through coughing and sneezing. It is also spread by direct contact with contaminated surfaces or objects such as unwashed hands, clothes, toys, eating utensils, etc. after they have been contaminated by the flu virus.
What is Flu Vaccine?
Influenza vaccine provides adults and children with active immunity against the influenza virus. It is not produced from human blood or blood products.
The vaccine given at the Health Unit clinic cannot give you the flu because it does not contain live virus.
How well does influenza vaccine protect against the flu?
- A/Michigan/45/2015 (H1N1) pdm09-like virus;
- A/Singapore/INFIMH-16-0019/2016 (H3N2)-like virus;
- B/Colorado/06/2017-like virus (B/Victora/2/87 lineage); and
- B/Phuket/3073/2013-like virus (B/Yamagata/16/88 lineage).
It protects about 60–80 percent of people who get a flu shot. You can still get the flu, but you will be less sick than if you were not vaccinated. In elderly people this vaccine can prevent pneumonia in about 6 out of 10 people and can prevent death in more than 8 out of 10 people.
Less than 1 out of 3 people have some pain at the spot where the needle is given. This lasts up to 2 days. Some people get muscle aches and fever and feel tired for a day or two after the needle.
DO NOT GET THE FLU VACCINE IF YOU HAVE ANY OF THE FOLLOWING:
- Under 6 months of age.
- Previous severe reactions to the Influenza vaccine.
- An active neurological disorder or a past history of Guillian-Barre Syndrome.
- Serious febrile illness (you can still have the vaccine if you have a mild infection without a fever).
NOTE: Pregnancy and breastfeeding are not considered contraindications to getting the vaccine.
Call your doctor if any of these symptoms happen within three days after the needle:
- Swelling of the mouth or throat,
- Trouble breathing, hoarseness or wheezing,
- Paleness, weakness, a fast heart beat or dizziness,
- Red eyes, respiratory symptoms (ORS), facial swelling or a combination of these within 24 hours of receiving the vaccine and lasting 48 hours,
- Any other unusual condition or serious reaction to the vaccine.
If you take oral anticoagulants, please let your health care professional know that you received your Influenza immunization today.
If you have any questions or concerns about Influenza immunization, please speak with the Nurse.