Influenza

Information on Immunization and Influenza

The Public Health Nursing mass immunization clinics have now concluded.  Please call Public Health at 1-866-786-2510 to make arrangements to receive your influenza immunization.

Anyone six months of age and older can receive the flu vaccine and is encouraged to get vaccinated early in the season. The flu vaccine is a safe, effective way for people to protect themselves and those close to them during flu season. High-risk groups include pregnant women, young children, elderly persons, persons with underlying health conditions, and those who are immune-compromised.

Vaccine is free for all Saskatchewan residents!

FluMist Nasal Spray

FluMist® nasal spray will not be offered in 2016.  FluMist®  was offered as part of the provincial influenza program for children the past two years, however a recent study by the U.S. Center for Disease Control’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices showed that the effectiveness of FluMist® vaccine decreased significantly over time.  The committee recommended no longer using FluMist® vaccine.

The Saskatchewan Ministry of Health has reviewed all of the available evidence and recommendations.  The Ministry decided to use only injectable influenza vaccine for the 2016-2017 influenza season in Saskatchewan.

What is influenza?

Influenza is a contagious viral disease of the respiratory system. Influenza is spread by coughing, sneezing or direct contact with the viruses in nasal and throat secretions. Symptoms include sudden onset of fever and chills, a cough, muscle aches, a headache, fatigue and a runny or stuffy nose.

In most cases, influenza is a self-limiting illness that may result in being home sick for a few days. Influenza can result in hospitalization and death, especially in very young children, the elderly and those with serious underlying health conditions.

Unsure if you have influenza?  Learn how to differentiate between influenza, a cold, and allergies.

If you think you have influenza, here’s how to decide what treatment options are best for you.

 

How can influenza be prevented?

Immunization prevents influenza illness in about 70% of healthy children and adults.

  • Get the influenza vaccine every year
  • Vaccine is free
  • Stay home when you feel sick
  • Practice good hygiene:
    • Frequent hand washing with soap and water
    • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer gel to clean your hands if soap and water are not available
    • Cough and sneeze into your sleeve or a tissue (throw tissue away after use)
    • Clean and disinfect all surfaces regularly

How effective is the vaccine?

The flu vaccine is a safe, effective way to protect yourself and those around you during the flu season.

Its effectiveness depends on:

  • The match between the vaccine strains and the influenza strains circulating in the community; and
  • The age and the immune response of the person being immunized.

It is more effective in people who are younger and otherwise healthy, such as children and adults, but may be less effective in older people. If a person gets influenza after getting immunized, they usually have a milder illness and are less likely to require hospitalization.

Who should not get the vaccine?

A mild recent illness, with or without fever, is not a reason to avoid immunization.

  • Infants younger than 6 months of age.
  • Persons with a past history of a severe allergic reaction to a previous influenza immunization or any component of an influenza vaccine should discuss their situation with a public health nurse, their physician or nurse practitioner.
  • Persons who developed a neurological disorder called Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS) within 6 weeks of a previous influenza immunization.

Pharmacies Offering Influenza Vaccine

In addition to receiving your influenza vaccine at a public health clinic, you may instead receive your immunization from participating local pharmacies and physician offices.  Pharmacies offering the influenza vaccine in 2016 include:

  • Herbert – Harder’s Pharmacy
  • Leader – Stueck Pharmacy
  • Maple Creek – Pharmasave
  • Ponteix – Pharmasave
  • Shaunavon – Rexall Drug Store/Jae’s Pharmacy
  • Swift Current – Pharmasave, Walmart Pharmacy, Pioneer Co-op, Rexall Drug Store, and Shoppers Drug Mart

 Public Health Offices

  • Swift Current 306.778.5280
  • Leader 306.628.3161
  • Maple Creek 306.662.5807
  • Shaunavon 306.297.2644

For more information contact your local public health office, your physician or nurse practitioner, your pharmacist, or HealthLine at 8-1-1.