Influenza (Flu)

Influenza, also called the flu, is a serious, highly contagious viral infection of the nose, throat and lungs. Illness from the flu can last two to seven days. It may last longer in people with chronic diseases or the elderly. Some people get very ill, develop complications and are admitted to hospital. Some people will die from getting the flu.

Where to get the influenza vaccine (flu shot)

Please note that while the influenza vaccine protects against the influenza virus, it does not protect against COVID-19. The influenza vaccine (or other vaccines) can be given at the same time as the COVID-19 vaccine in individuals aged five and over. For those ages six months to under five years, it should be given 14 days before or after the COVID-19 vaccine.

Find out where you can get the flu shot in Huron and Perth counties.

Protecting you and your family from the flu

Vaccination

The influenza vaccine (flu shot) helps to prevent influenza in children and adults. Some people who get the flu shot may still get influenza but it will usually be a milder case than if they had not been vaccinated.

Anyone six months of age and older who lives, works or attends school in Ontario can get the flu shot for free. It takes about two weeks after getting the flu shot to be protected. The vaccine is needed every year because the circulating flu strains may be different. Children less than nine years old need two flu shots the first year they get the vaccine. They need one flu shot each year after.

Wash your hands often

  • even after getting the flu shot, washing with soap and water for at least 15 seconds helps keep the virus from spreading
  • if soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (gel or wipes) with at least 70% alcohol

Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze

  • use a tissue and throw it out rather than putting it in your pocket, on a desk or table
  • if you don't have a tissue, cough into your upper sleeve

 Don't touch your face

  • the flu virus spreads when people with the flu cough, sneeze or talk and droplets enter another person's body through their eyes, nose or mouth

Stay at home when you're sick

  •  viruses spread more easily in group settings indoors, such as workplaces, schools and long-term care homes

 Clean and disinfect surfaces and shared items

  •  viruses can live for 24 to 48 hours on hard surfaces such as countertops, door handles, computer keyboards and phones

Flu activity in Perth and Huron Counties

In Canada, influenza or flu season usually runs from November to April. Huron Perth Public Health tracks the flu in our communities by monitoring:

  • lab-confirmed cases submitted through local doctors and hospitals
  • outbreaks at local hospitals, long-term care homes and other facilities
  • reports of high absenteeism in children from schools due to influenza-like symptoms

The number of lab-confirmed cases of flu is only a small portion of people who may actually have the flu. Many people do not see a doctor or get tested when they are ill. The number of lab-confirmed cases being reported indicates the extent of flu in Huron and Perth, however, there are likely many more cases in our region that we are not aware of.