Communicable Disease Control

Influenza (Flu)

Red, stuffy nose and sore throat?

Influenza, also known as the flu, can spread from person to person by cough or sneeze droplets. You can spread the flu to your family and friends before you show any symptoms. 

The flu is not the same as a cold. Unlike the common cold, flu can develop into more serious health problems such as pneumonia or worsening of pre-existing medical conditions (asthma, heart disease or uncontrolled diabetes).

The best way to stay healthy this season is to get your flu shot early, before mid November. It takes about two weeks for antibodies to develop in your body to protect you against the flu. Flu shots cannot give you the flu because the vaccine contains killed or weakened virus pieces.

The flu virus changes often, so you need to get a flu shot every year. It's easy and it's free. Everyone should get the flu shot. Talk to your health care provider for more information. For a free flu shot,visit Ontario flu locator for a clinic nearest you. 

Flu Vaccine for Children

Flu vaccine is recommended for infants 6 months of age and up. 

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) prefers FluMist® for use in healthy children 2 to 5 years of age.  FluMist®, is given as a nasal spray. FluMist® is not publicly funded in Ontario, and will need a prescription. The cost is about $30.  The free flu vaccine  that is given in the arm at clinics is still safe and works in children.

Have questions? Call Toronto Public Health Immunization at 416-392-1250.

Updated September 2014

Back to: Immunization