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Influenza (Flu)

Influenza ("the flu") can be a serious disease, but you can prevent it by getting immunized every fall.

The flu is caused by an influenza virus which is easily spread through coughing, sneezing and direct contact with nose and throat secretions.

Influenza can result in hospitalization and death, especially in very young children, the elderly, and those with serious underlying health conditions.

Symptoms include:

  • sudden onset of fever and chills;
  • a cough;
  • muscle aches;
  • a headache;
  • fatigue; and
  • a runny or stuffy nose.

Infected people can spread the virus on to others before they show any symptoms.


1. Prevention

Influenza vaccines are proven to be safe by Health Canada. By getting immunized, you protect yourself and those close to you during the flu season.

Influenza Vaccine Facts:

  • Vaccine effectiveness is usually around 60 % in healthy persons.
  • The vaccine is more effective in people who are younger and otherwise healthy, such as children and adults, but may be less effective in older people.
  • The vaccine cannot cause influenza. However, if a person gets influenza after getting immunized, they generally have a milder illness and are less likely to require hospitalization.
  • The vaccines used this year contain two influenza A viral components (H1N1 and H3N2) and one or two influenza B viral components.

Who Should Get an Influenza Vaccine?

All Saskatchewan residents who are six months of age and older. It is particularly recommended to people at high risk of serious complications from influenza:

  • Children under five;
  • Pregnant women;
  • Adults 65 and older;
  • Nursing home residents;
  • People with a chronic health condition; and
  • Caregivers and contacts of people at high risk.

It is important to get the vaccine early in the fall to be protected for the entire flu season. 

Where and When to Get Vaccinated

Learn about the publicly funded (free) influenza immunization program for 2015-2016.

Visit your health region website to find out where to get vaccinated.

Everyday Prevention Methods

You can also protect yourself against influenza by:


2. Treatment

Antiviral medications

Certain antiviral medications used to treat influenza are eligible benefits under the Saskatchewan Drug Plan.

Two antivirals – Tamiflu and Relenza – are on the provincial drug formulary every flu season for people over 65 years of age and those who qualify for financial assistance.

3. Further Information

The following online resources will help you learn more about the prevention and treatment of influenza.

  • You can also contact the public health clinic in your area for information on flu symptoms and self-care.

Cold, Flu and Allergy Fact Sheet

Confused if you have a cold, flu, or are suffering from seasonal allergies? Use this factsheet and quickly compare common symptoms for each.

Flu Decision Chart

Have the flu? Use these guidelines to help make the best decisions for you and your loved ones.

Get information about the flu from the Government of Canada, in collaboration with provincial and territorial governments.

FluMist - Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine Fact Sheet

Learn about the intranasal vaccine for the 2015-2016 influenza season.

Immunize Canada 

Get information about immunizations, diseases, vaccines, and learn about vaccine safety.

Protect Yourself and Others from Influenza Poster

Download our poster to get the message out about how to keep yourself and others from getting the flu.

Seasonal Influenza Vaccine Fact Sheet

Learn about the injectable vaccines for the 2015-2016 influenza season.

"Who Can Get A Free Flu Shot" Poster

Download our poster to get the message out about who is eligible for a free flu shot and who should be vaccinated.

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