Influenza is an infection of the nose, throat, and lungs that’s caused by a virus. Influenza can happen any time during the year, but it’s most common in the winter.
Influenza is easily spread when an infected person sneezes, coughs, or even talks. This virus gets into the air and can be breathed in by others. You can also be exposed to the virus when you touch something that has the virus on it (like hands or objects) and then touch your eyes, nose, or mouth. You can spread influenza before symptoms start.
Most people who get sick with influenza will get better. The most common complication of influenza is pneumonia. Influenza can make other health problems worse. Even healthy, young people can get very sick and die from influenza. Each year, more than 12,000 people in Canada have to stay in the hospital because of influenza and 3500 will die.
Influenza starts suddenly and may include:
Vomiting and diarrhea can happen but are more common in children.
All Albertans age 6 months and older should get the influenza vaccine. This vaccine is very important if you’re pregnant. You are at a higher risk of having complications from influenza.
Babies less than age 6 months are too young to be immunized so they’re also at high risk. It’s important for anyone who cares for your baby to be immunized. This includes parents, grandparents, siblings, and anyone else who cares for your baby.
Yes, you can get immunized at any time while you’re pregnant. You’re at higher risk for serious complications from influenza when you’re pregnant.
Getting the influenza vaccine while you’re pregnant:
To protect you and your baby, make sure everyone around you is also immunized against influenza. This is especially important for those who live in your home.
Yes. Recent studies show no harm to pregnant women or their babies when the influenza vaccine is given during pregnancy.
Yes. There’s no risk to your baby if you get the influenza vaccine while you’re breastfeeding. Both the injectable and the live nasal spray influenza vaccine are safe to get when breastfeeding.
As a new mother, you’re busy taking care of your baby and possibly older children. It’s important that you take care of yourself by being immunized.
Babies less than 6 months of age can’t get the influenza vaccine. The best way to protect your baby is to have everyone who has contact with your baby get immunized against influenza.
People who have influenza may not have symptoms but they can still spread the disease. It’s not enough for people to stay away while they are sick— ask them to be immunized.
Current as of: July 28, 2020
Author: Provincial Immunization Program, Alberta Health Services
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