Flu – protect yourself!

It’s that time of year again, when influenza (aka flu) season rolls around. The good news is you can take steps to protect yourself and loved ones by getting your flu vaccine. 
Flu facts
  • Influenza can have serious complications for many people, including the elderly, children under five years of age and those with chronic health conditions.
  • Vaccination is a simple, safe and effective way to prevent getting and spreading the virus. 
  • Influenza vaccine is free for all Nova Scotians. 
  • It can take several weeks to build up full immunity against the influenza virus. Nova Scotians are encouraged to get the vaccine early, so they can be protected sooner.
  • Influenza symptoms often include a sudden high fever, headache, general aches and pains, fatigue and weakness, a runny, stuffy nose, sneezing and sore throat. 
  • It can lead to more severe illness such as pneumonia or even death.
Where to get your flu vaccination
  • The vaccine is now available from most pharmacists, family doctors, family practice nurses and nurse practitioners. 
  • Many workplaces also offer flu vaccination clinics for employees. 
  • Pharmacists can provide flu vaccination to children five years of age and older. Therefore, if you have a child under five years of age who does not have a health care provider, please contact your local Public Health office to arrange their flu shot. 
This year’s flu vaccination
  • Global trends show that the H3N2 virus is likely to be part of Nova Scotia's flu season, a strain of influenza that can be particularly severe in the elderly.
  • It's important to get your vaccine especially if you are at higher risk for complications. 
  • The province will provide the quadrivalent vaccine, which contains two influenza A strains and two influenza B strains.
Ways to protect yourself and others
  • In addition to the seasonal vaccine, proper hand washing (.pdf) and covering noses and mouths when coughing or sneezing are also important to prevent the spread of influenza and many other infections. 
  • People with influenza symptoms should stay home and minimize close contact with others.
For more information, visit http://novascotia.ca/flu