Frequently Asked Questions about The Flu

Influenza (the flu) is a virus that infects the nose, throat, and lungs. Symptoms of the flu virus are coughing, fever, chills, headaches, muscles aches, runny nose, sore throat, weakness, and fatigue. The virus is extremely contagious but, in most people, the flu virus will not cause serious illness. However, the flu virus may cause pneumonia, and result in hospitalization, and even death, in the elderly, those with chronic health problems, or infants and young children.

It is recommended and available for free in Ontario for everyone 6 months of age and older.
The flu vaccine is especially recommended for the following high risk groups:

  • anyone 65 years of age and over
  • all children between 6 months and 5 years of age
  • pregnant women at any stage of pregnancy
  • Indigenous peoples
  • anyone at high risk for flu-related complications including those with heart, kidney, or lung disorders, neurologic or neurodevelopmental conditions, diabetes, cancer, immune problems, or obesity
  • residents of nursing homes and other chronic care facilities
  • anyone who provides care to children under 5 years of age
  • anyone who may give the flu to those at high risk, including health care providers
  • anyone who provides essential community services, e.g. police, firefighters, etc.

  • Infants under 6 months of age
  • Anyone with a high fever or moderate to severe illness should wait until they feel well
  • Anyone who has had a serious allergic reaction to a previous dose of flu vaccine or a vaccine component, with the exception of eggs, since even individuals who have had severe reactions to eggs in the past may be vaccinated for flu.
  • Anyone who has previously developed Guillain-Barré Syndrome within the first 6 weeks after a flu shot
  • had Oculo-Respiratory Syndrome (ORS) in the past, within 24 hrs of a flu shot, with severe lower respiratory symptoms, e.g. wheezing, tight chest or difficulty breathing

  • If you receive an injection, you may feel sore for a few days where the needle was given.
  • Some people may have general muscle aches, fever, and feel tired for a day or two.
  • Tylenol® or ibuprofen may be taken as directed to reduce discomfort or fever afterwards.
  • Children under 19 years of age must not be given ASA, Aspirin® or salicylates.

Age Number of Doses Recommended
6 months to under 9 years of age Not previously immunized with any influenza vaccine in their lifetime 2 doses at least 4 weeks apart*
Previously immunized with at least one dose of any influenza vaccine in their lifetime 1 dose
9 years of age and older 1 dose

*It is not necessary to use the same vaccine product for both doses.

Yes, in fact it is recommended!

  • The flu vaccine cannot give you the flu.
  • Anyone who has had a severe allergic reaction to eggs in the past may still have the flu vaccine, including FluMist, the live nasal spray vaccine.
  • Because the flu virus changes often, it is necessary to get a flu shot every year.
  • The flu vaccine works best if you get it in the fall because it takes about 2 weeks before the vaccine is effective against the flu.
  • You can still catch a different strain of flu that the vaccine may not protect against.

The Huronia Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic can happily provide you your flu vaccine, or you may check with your local pharmacy.