Influenza (the seasonal flu) is a contagious illness caused by the influenza virus that infects the nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death.
Every flu season is different, and the flu can affect people differently. An annual seasonal flu shot is the best way to help protect you against the flu.
The flu shot causes antibodies to develop in your body. These antibodies provide protection against infection with viruses that are used to make the vaccine. The flu shot helps your body build immunity and fight off the flu virus if it enters your body.
Different flu shots are approved for people of different ages. Everyone should get a vaccine that is appropriate for their age.
It is especially important that people with the following health conditions or in the following groups get the flu shot as they are at a higher risk of complications from the flu:
|Cancer and other immune compromising conditions||Neurological or neurodevelopment conditions|
|Diabetes||Children up to 18 years of age undergoing treatment for long periods with acetylsalicylic acid (ASA)|
|Heart disease||People 65 years and older|
|Lung disease||People who live in nursing homes or long-term care facilities|
|Anemia||Children under 5 years of age|
|Obesity||Pregnant women of those planning to get pregnant|
|Kidney disease||Indigenous peoples|
The only groups that should not get the seasonal flu shot are children younger than six months of age and anyone with severe, life-threatening allergies to flu vaccine or any ingredient in the vaccine.
Yes, the flu shot is safe. Severe reactions are very rare. Most people experience few to no side effects from the flu shot. You cannot get the flu from the flu vaccine.
There are two reasons why the flu shot is necessary every year:
- Your immune system build-up from the flu shot declines over time, so an annual flu shot is needed to strengthen your body each year;
- The flu virus can also change each year. Vaccines may be updated from one season to the next to protect against the virus researchers project may be coming each year.
Seasonal influenza vaccine is available free of charge to all New Brunswick residents by many different immunization providers through a variety of programs. This includes New Brunswickers 65 years of age or older living in nursing homes and adult residential facilities. It is also being provided free to eligible Extra Mural clients by Extra Mural.
For more details, click here.
You can get the flu shot from your primary care provider or a pharmacist.
For more information on influenza immunization, click here.