Person receiving the flu shot.

Learn how to better protect yourself – and others – from getting the flu

The flu (influenza) is a contagious virus that anyone can get. Learn how to better protect yourself – and others – from getting the flu.

Who is most at risk? 

Complications from the flu can include pneumonia, which is a serious illness. Flu causes about 12,200 hospitalizations and 3,500 deaths in Canada each year. Influenza is the only communicable disease listed in the top 10 causes of death for Canadians. Some people are more vulnerable to complications or hospitalization from the flu:

  • Babies under 6 months are too young to get the flu shot, but they’ll get some protection if their parent gets the flu shot while pregnant.
  • Children under five years of age because their immune systems are developing, and their airways are small and more easily blocked.
  • People over 65 years old, because their immune systems are weaker and they may have an underlying condition that increases their risk. Health Canada recommends high dose (HD) seasonal influenza vaccine for this risk group.
  • Pregnant people, because their immune system, heart and lungs change – especially later in pregnancy – and makes it harder to fight infection.
  • People with underlying health conditions, such as asthma, heart disease or diabetes.

What can I do to protect myself and others this flu season?

  • Get a free flu shot and get it as early as possible.
    • Available through your family doctor, participating pharmacies or public clinics. Click here to search for a clinic near you.
    • Vaccination options available to the public (ages 5 years and older) within Michael Garron Hospital (825 Coxwell Avenue) include:
      • Pharmasave Pharmacy ground floor location (C wing, first floor)
        • Bring your HEALTH CARD
        • Monday - Friday:  8:00 a.m. - 7:30 p.m.
        • Saturday:  9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
        • Sunday:  10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
      • 840 Coxwell - Pharmasave (across the street from Michael Garron Hospital)
        • Bring your HEALTH CARD
        • Monday - Friday:  9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
  • Wash your hands or use alcohol based hand rub frequently.
    • Approximately 80 percent of common infections like the cold and flu are spread by hands. Hand washing, when done correctly, is the most effective way to prevent the spread of infectious diseases.
  • Cough and sneeze into your arm.
    • If a tissue isn't available, cough or sneeze into your arm avoiding your hands where infections are commonly spread.
  • Avoid touching your eyes and face.
    • Flu germs can live on surfaces for up to 8 hours.
  • Don’t share personal items such as drinking cups.
  • Do a fist bump instead of shaking hands.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
    • If you have the flu, avoid going to work and being in large crowds as you can spread influenza easily to others.

For more information about the flu and how to protect you and your family visit


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