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THE FLU VACCINE IS THE MOST IMPORTANT MEASURE YOU CAN TAKE TO PROTECT YOURSELF. Get the flu vaccine and encourage others in your family to get the flu vaccine too. Regardless of what you may have heard, the flu vaccine is generally very safe and greatly reduces your risks. The flu vaccine is recommended for everyone aged 6 months or older unless there is a reason it should not be given.
The flu vaccine is especially recommended for people who are at higher risk and those who have regular contact with people at higher risk. People at higher risk from the flu include:
Getting the flu vaccine also helps reduce the risk that you will spread the flu to others in your family and community who may be at higher risk of serious complications. The more people who get the flu vaccine in your community, the less risk to everyone of getting the flu. This is called “herd immunity” or “community immunity”.
If you are pregnant, getting the flu vaccine can reduce the risk that your baby will get the flu after it is born.
In individuals aged 65 and older, the immune system response to the flu vaccine is not as strong as it is in younger people. Those aged 65 and older may get more benefit from the high-dose flu vaccine, which has four times the usual dose and is now available for free to seniors in Ontario.
Other measures that can help stop the flu from spreading include:
Find a flu vaccine clinic in Ontario by visiting www.ontario.ca/flu.
Some of the germs that cause pneumonia are easily spread from one person to another. They are carried in the nose and throat of an infected person. When an infected person coughs or sneezes, they spray drops of infected saliva (spit) into the air around them. A person who breathes in that air can get pneumonia.
There are many things you can do to lower your risk of getting pneumonia. Not smoking is an important way to help prevent pneumonia. People who smoke, and children whose parents smoke, are at a higher risk of getting pneumonia.
Pneumococcal vaccinations help protect you against invasive pneumococcal infections such as pneumonia, bacteremia (blood infection) and meningitis (infection of the membrane surrounding your brain and spinal cord).
Ask your health-care provider about getting the pneumococcal vaccination. For details on when the pneumococcal vaccinations are required, starting at two months of age, see Ontario’s Routine Immunization Schedule. Some adults may need it every five years. Prevention of pneumonia through immunization is even more important now since some infections have become more resistant to antibiotics.