Our first priority is the safety of our patients and staff, and that includes protecting our patients and staff from influenza (flu). The flu can be dangerous to hospital patients. Here’s what you need to know.
What is influenza?
Influenza, often called the flu, is an infection of the nose, throat and lungs caused by the influenza virus. It can spread around the world in epidemics and causes serious illness as well as death. In Canada, the influenza season usually begins in October and can last until August. Symptoms can include cough and fever, runny nose, sore throat, body aches, fatigue and lack of appetite.
How is influenza spread?
Influenza spreads easily from person to person through breathing, coughing and sneezing. The virus can also spread when a person touches tiny droplets from coughs and sneezes on another person or an object and then touches their own mouth, eyes or nose before washing their hands.
What is the flu shot?
The flu shot is a vaccine that protects against some strains of the influenza (flu) virus. Because flu strains change every year, so does the flu shot. The most effective way to prevent the spread of the flu is by getting a flu shot and washing your hands regularly. To learn more about the flu shot, visit www.ontario.ca/page/flu-facts.
Can I get my flu shot at Providence?
Yes! The flu shot is available in our pharmacy (second floor) as of Novermber 1 – Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., no appointment necessary
Who shouldn’t get the flu shot?
How is the flu shot made?
The influenza vaccine (flu shot) is made from particles of killed flu viruses. It contains three different types of influenza viruses (two types of influenza A and one of influenza B). A person who receives the flu shot develops immunity for the types of flu in the vaccine. The body needs about two weeks to build up protection to the virus, and this protection may last four months or longer.
The flu vaccine is usually around 70-90 per cent effective in healthy individuals and usually protects well for at least six months. In the elderly, young people and people with weak immune systems, chronic heart and lung diseases it is approximately 40 per cent effective and usually protects for only four months.
People with influenza are contagious for one to two days before symptoms start – this is the most common cause of spread within health care institutions. Many people can also have mild symptoms which are often mistaken for the common cold.
When is flu season?
Flu season is declared at Providence when our Infection Prevention and Control team and Toronto Public Health confirm that influenza is widely circulating in the community. It usually begins in early December and ends by April.
I think I might have the flu.
How can I protect myself and others?
Thank you for helping us protect our patients and staff from the flu.
Have more questions? Additional information can be found at: