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The flu (influenza) is a contagious virus that anyone can get.  But there are several things you can do to avoid catching it, or spreading it to others.

syringe with needle

The flu shot is your best defence

The flu shot is recommended for everyone 6 months old and older. It is:

  • safe (including for kids and if you are pregnant or breastfeeding)
  • free
  • available from your doctor or nurse practitioner, and at participating pharmacies and local public health units across the province
  • proven to reduce the number of doctor visits, hospitalizations and deaths related to the flu
  • different each year because the virus changes frequently – so you need to get it every fall
Children and youth between 2 and 17 years old can get the flu vaccine as a shot or nasal spray. Talk to your doctor or nurse practitioner about which option is best for your child.
Be sure to get your shot as soon as it is available because it takes two weeks to take effect.

Where to get the flu vaccine

65 and older

NEW For the 2018/2019 season, if you are 65 years or older, two different products are available for you:

  1. standard-dose vaccine, which protects against 4 strains of flu virus
  2. high-dose vaccine, which protects against 3 strains of flu virus, but in higher doses (not available at pharmacies)

Talk to your doctor or nurse practitioner about which vaccine is better for you.

All Adults

On McMaster's Central Campus:

Close to McMaster's Central Campus:

Close to McMaster's Downtown Hamilton Campuses:

In the Community

 * Pharmacists can give flu shots to anyone 5 years of age and older.

For more information about the influenza vaccine, please visit the Ontario flu website.

Other tips to avoid getting - and spreading - the flu:

washing hands under a tap with bubbles Wash your hands often!
  • even after getting the flu shot, washing with soap and water for at least 15 seconds helps keep the virus from spreading
  • if soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer (gel or wipes) with at least 60% alcohol
person coughing into their sleeve Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough 
  • use a tissue and throw it out rather than putting it in your pocket, on a desk or table
  • if you don't have a tissue, cough into your upper sleeve
 keep your hands out of eyes, nose and mouth Don't touch your face
  • the flu virus spreads when people with the flugh cough, sneeze or talk and droplets enter your body through your eyes, nose or mouth
avoid crowds and your workplace Stay at home when you're sick
  • viruses spread more easily in group settings, such as workplaces and schools
wiping down a surface Clean (and disinfect) surfaces and shared items


  • viruses can live for up to 48 hours on hard surfaces like countertops, door handles, computer keyboards and phones



If you get the flu:

  • stay home and get plenty of rest
  • drink lots of fluids
  • avoid drinks with caffeine
  • take basic pain or fever relievers but do not give acetylsalicylic acid (ASA or Aspirin®) to children or teenagers under the age of 18
  • treat muscle pain using a hot water bottle or heating pad — apply heat for short periods of time
  • take a warm bath
  • gargle with a glass of warm salt water or suck on hard candy or lozenges
  • use spray or saline drops for a stuffy nose
  • avoid alcohol and tobacco

Call your doctor or health care provider if:

  • you don’t start to feel better after a few days
  • your symptoms get worse
  • you are in a high-risk group and develop flu symptoms

You can also call Telehealth at 1-866-797-0000 to talk to a registered nurse 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You do not need to provide your OHIP number and all information is confidential.

credit: http://www.ontario.ca/page/flu-facts