Communicable Diseases - Influenza

Communicable Disease Prevention and Control

English | Français

Influenza- Respiratory Diseases

The flu shot helps Nova Scotians avoid getting influenza themselves, and avoid spreading it to family, friends, co-workers and people in their care, such as patients in health care settings, and residents in long-term care facilities.

Is the flu shot free?

Yes, the flu shot is free for all Nova Scotians.

Where can I get a flu shot?

You can get a flu shot at most pharmacies around the province, at your doctor’s office, through clinics offered by Public Health Services, and in some workplaces.

For more information on what is happening in your area, please check with your family physician, family practice nurse or nurse practitioner; your local public health office; Pharmacy Association of Nova Scotia website; or district health authorities website.

Who should get a flu shot?

All Nova Scotians are encouraged to get a flu shot. For the following people, immunization is strongly recommended:

  • Pregnant women
  • Children between 6 months and 5 years
  • People over 65
  • Residents of long-term and other chronic care facilities
  • Children and adolescents (age 6 months to 18 years) with conditions treated for long periods with acetylsalicylic acid (e.g., rheumatoid arthritis patients)
  • People with chronic health conditions
  • People with any condition that can compromise respiratory function or that can increase the risk of aspiration
  • People with a body mass index greater than 40
  • Aboriginal people and people living in First Nations communities
  • Health care workers and students in health care settings
  • First responders such as paramedics, fire fighters and police
  • People living in a home where a newborn is expected during the regular influenza season (usually November to April)
  • People who live with or care for someone in one of the above groups

What else can I do to avoid getting the flu?

Wash hands often with soap and water, especially after a sneeze or cough. When soap and water are not handy, alcohol-based hand sanitizers are an acceptable alternative.

Cover your cough and sneeze.

Limit touching eyes, nose and mouth.

Do not share drinking glasses, or eating utensils, water bottles, mouth guards, or cosmetics.

How do I know if I have the flu?

Flu symptoms include a fever, cough, unusual tiredness, headaches, muscle or joint aches, and sore throat. You can call 811 to speak with a registered nurse who can help determine if you might have the flu.

What should I do if I have the flu?

Stay home, get plenty of rest, and drink lots of clear liquids. Call 811 to talk to a registered nurse about treating your flu symptoms. Avoid contact with other people, wash your hands frequently, and cover your cough or sneeze to prevent spreading the flu.

Does the flu shot protect against H1N1?

Yes, this year’s vaccine will protect against three strains of the seasonal influenza that are predicted to circulate this season, including H1N1.