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.
It's important to know that you and others can spread influenza before symptoms start.
Most people who get sick with influenza will get better. The most common problem that ca happen with influenza (called a complication) is a type of lung infection called pneumonia.
Influenza can also 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:
The best way to protect yourself and others from influenza is to get the influenza vaccine.
You need to get immunized every year because the influenza virus changes. The best time for you and your family to get immunized is early in the fall, (usually October or November), before the influenza season begins. But you can get immunized any time during the influenza season. The season starts in late fall and lasts through the winter.
Other ways to protect against influenza include:
You should get the influenza vaccine if you're age 6 months and older. Everyone is at risk of influenza.
This vaccine is very important if you’re pregnant. When you're pregnant, you have a higher risk of complications from influenza.
Babies less than age 6 months are too young to be immunized so they also have a higher risk of complications. 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 should get the influenza vaccine. You can get the vaccine 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. Studies show that the influenza vaccine won't harm you or your baby if you get it while you're pregnant.
Yes. There’s no risk to your baby if you get the influenza vaccine while you’re breastfeeding. Both types of influenza vaccines (injected and nasal spray) are safe to get when breastfeeding.
As a new parent, you’re busy taking care of your baby and possibly older children. It’s important that you take care of yourself by getting immunized.
Babies less than 6 months of age can’t get the influenza vaccine. This is why it's important for anyone who has contact with your baby to get the influenza vaccine.
You and others can spread influenza before symptoms start. It’s not enough for people to stay away while they are sick. Ask them to be immunized.
Current as of: September 10, 2021
Author: Provincial Immunization Program, Alberta Health Services
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