Pharmacy Services

Cold & Flu


Influenza (the flu) is a serious, acute respiratory illness that is caused by influenza viruses. It is spread by respiratory droplets from an infected person or by direct contact with contaminated surfaces. Symptoms include sudden onset of headache, chills, cough, fever, loss of appetite, achiness, fatigue, sneezing, watery eyes and throat irritation. 

You can rely on our Peoples Pharmacy team for education, counselling, monitoring and administration of your yearly flu vaccination.


Treatment & Prevention

I have never had a flu shot before. Why should I get one?

  • Each year, it is estimated that there are 12,200 hospitalizations and 3,500 deaths in Canada related to influenza infection.
  • 10-20% of the population becomes infected every year, with the highest rate found in children 5-9 years of age. However the highest is in young children and older adults (over 65) and those with underlying medical conditions.
  • Influenza infection is a primary illness, but it can also lead to secondary complications including viral pneumonia, secondary bacterial pneumonia, and worsening of any underlying medical conditions.
  • Immunization has shown to reduce the number of physician visits, hospitalizations and deaths for high-risk individuals ages 18-64, hospitalizations for cardiac disease and stroke in the elderly, and hospitalizations and deaths in diabetic patients ≥18 years of age.


I had the flu shot last year. Why should I get another one this year?

  • Immunity diminishes within a year of immunization and re-immunization reinforces optimal protection.
  • The new vaccine, updated yearly with the most current circulating strains, is needed to protect against new infections.

I have never had a flu shot before. What are some of the common side effects?

  • Injection site soreness is common and can last up to 2 days, but it rarely interferes with normal activities.

I always seem to get sick after the flu shot. Does the flu shot make you sick?

  • No, inactivated influenza vaccines do not contain live virus therefore they cannot cause infection. The live attenuated formulation of the vaccine contains weakened, cold adapted and temperature sensitive virus which can only replicate in the nasal cavity and will not infect the lower respiratory tract.

I am pregnant, should I get vaccinated?

  • Yes. NACI identifies all pregnant women, no matter what trimester of pregnancy, as high priority recipients. This is due to: “1) risk of influenza-associated morbidity in pregnant women, 2) evidence of adverse neonatal outcomes associated with maternal respiratory hospitalization or influenza during pregnancy, 3) evidence that vaccination of pregnant women protects their newborns from influenza and influenza-related hospitalization, and 4) evidence that infants born during influenza season to vaccinated women are less likely to be premature, small for gestational age, and low birth weight.” Studies on the safety of the inactivated influenza vaccine during pregnancy have not shown evidence of harm to the mother or fetus associated with influenza immunization.

I have a latex allergy, is it safe for me to get the flu shot?

  • Yes, all influenza vaccines currently available in Canada are considered safe in persons with latex allergies.

I have egg allergies, is it safe for me to get the flu shot?

  • Yes, without a prior influenza vaccine skin test, egg allergic individuals may be vaccinated with TIV or QIV, but not LAIV as its safety has not yet been studied.

I have a serious acute illness, should I wait to get my flu shot?

  • Yes. Vaccination should be postponed until symptoms have subsided.

I have a minor acute illness, should I wait to get my flu shot?

  • No. Minor acute illness does not warrant postponed vaccination, regardless of fever.

Why should I choose the intranasal route

  • Intranasal is thought to develop an immune response that mimics one induced by a natural infection.
  • It offers injection-free immunization for children.

I care for a high risk individual, but they already got immunized.
Do I still need to get immunized?

  • Yes. Regardless of the high risk individual’s immunization status, any contact of an individual at high risk for influenza-associated complications should be immunized.

I am travelling during flu season. Will my flu shot cover me for infections when I travel?

  • Possibly. In the tropics, influenza occurs year round, and specific vaccines prepared for use in the Southern Hemisphere are not available in Canada. The extent to which the recommended vaccine components in the Southern Hemisphere overlap with those available in the Canadian formulations will vary.


Pharmacists are the most accessible health care providers and are in an ideal position to provide immunization services. You can rely on our pharmacy team for education, counselling, monitoring and administration of your yearly flu vaccination

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