Influenza (Flu)


What Is Influenza? • Protect Yourself from the Flu • Getting a Flu Vaccine • COVID-19 and the Flu • For Health Professionals​

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​What Is Influenza?

Influenza, also called the flu, is an infection of the upper airway caused by a flu virus. Symptoms can include fever, body aches, headache, runny nose, sore throat and a dry cough. Flu outbreaks usually happen in late fall and winter. – from Influenza (Seasonal Flu) on HealthLinkBC

Each year many people get sick with the flu, which can lead to more serious health problems such as pneumonia. The flu season can be especially risky for our Elders, young ones and those with health challenges.

Protect Yourself ​from the Flu 

The best way to protect yourself from getting the flu is to get the flu vaccine.

Flu vaccines are safe and effective for First Nations people. When you get vaccinated against the flu, you are protecting yourself and helping to protect others in your community. 

  • Herd Immunity (video, 1.06 mins) – illustrates how vaccination reduces the spread of disease

Here are some other ways to avoid getting the flu and keep yourself healthy:

  • wash your hands
  • avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • sneeze (or cough) into a tissue or your sleeve
  • throw tissues out right away
  • keep household and work surfaces clean
  • keep your distance from people who are sick
  • if you are feeling sick, stay home

Flu Protectio​​​​n Posters

Getting a Flu​​​ Vaccine

Flu vaccines are free for all BC residents, including Indigenous people living either ​in community (i.e. on reserve) or away from home.​

You can get a flu vaccine at your health centre or nursing station, or in your doctor's office or your local pharmacy.

For best protection, get your flu vaccine as early in the flu season as possible. The vaccine is usually available in October to early November. 

  • Book Your Flu Vaccine Now (fact sheet) – The flu shot is more important during COVID-19 • The flu shot is safe • Everyone should get the flu shot • Children six months and older should get a flu shot • First Nations people should receive the flu shot

COVID-19 an​d the Flu

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to make getting a flu vaccine important.

Getting immunized reduces the spread of flu and helps protect you and your community. Flu cases are a burden on the health care system since they can be serious enough to require hospitalization.​

COVID-19 Virus and​​​ Flu Virus

Remember, the COVID-19 virus and flu virus are different. It is important to get the flu vaccine even after you have had the COVID-19 vaccine. If you become sick with the flu, you may be more vulnerable to COVID-19.  

Although both of these viruses can make you feel very sick, the flu vaccination does not protect you from COVID-19.

  • The Flu Vaccine and COVID-19 (video, 4.47 mins) – Dr. Shannon McDonald, Acting Chief Medical Officer, FNHA – Why is it important to get the flu shot? Is the flu shot safe? Who should get the flu shot? The flu shot is important for First Nations people. Flu and COVID-19
  • The Flu Vaccine and CO​VID-19 (podcast, 7.17 mins) – Dr. Shannon McDonald, Acting Chief Medical Officer, FNHA – Why the COVID-19 pandemic makes it important to get vaccinated against influenza in the flu season | Answers to common questions about annual flu vaccine


 ​​If You Feel Unwell

If you start to feel unwell, it can be hard to determine if you are sick because of the flu virus or COVID-19. 

The flu and COVID-19 have some of the same symptoms. These symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, aching muscles and joints, headache and fatigue.

If you think you've been exposed to COVID-19  or are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, you can:

 Contact (for Health Professionals)

​FNHA Immunization Program