Algoma Public Health


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Anyone can catch the flu. Protect yourself. Protect your family. Get the flu shot.

On this page:


  1. Where can I get my flu shot?
  2. When to get the flu shot?
  3. What is the flu?
  4. Flu Vaccine Q&As
  5. COVID-19 vs flu
  6. Flu vs. Common Cold
  7. Kids and the flu
  8. Tips to prevent the flu

Where can I get my flu shot?


You can get the free flu shot from:


Flu shots will be widely available through participating pharmacies and primary care providers in the coming weeks. Get your flu shot as soon as it is available to you.

For those who are interested in getting the flu shot at a public health community clinic, here’s how:


Algoma Public Health Clinics



Book an Appointment



Participating Pharmacies 



When to get the flu shot?


Flu season typically runs from late fall to early spring.

The flu shot takes two weeks to take effect, so it is important to get immunized as soon as it becomes available to you. All individuals aged 6 months and older are eligible to receive a flu shot at the same time as, or at any time before or after a COVID-19 vaccine.


The flu shot is recommended for everyone 6 months of age 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

What is the flu?


Influenza (commonly known as "the flu") is a serious, acute respiratory illness that is caused by a virus. People who get influenza may have a fever, chills, cough, runny eyes, stuffy nose, sore throat, headache, muscle aches, extreme weakness, and fatigue. A cough and fatigue can persist for several weeks, making the return to full personal and work activities difficult.


People of any age can get the flu. Illness due to influenza usually lasts two to seven days; sometimes longer in the elderly and in people with chronic diseases. Most people who get influenza are ill for only a few days. However, some people can become very ill, possibly developing complications and requiring hospitalization.




Symptoms typically appear 1 to 4 days after you've been exposed to the virus, but you're still contagious even if you don't show symptoms yet.


You may have caught the flu if you have:

  • fever
  • chills
  • cough
  • runny eyes
  • stuffy nose
  • sore throat
  • headache
  • muscle aches
  • extreme weakness and tiredness
  • loss of appetite

Symptoms of influenza can range from mild to severe, and typically come on suddenly. They can include fever, cough, and muscle aches. Other common symptoms include headache, chills, loss of appetite, fatigue, and sore throat. Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea may also occur, especially in children. Most people will recover within a week to 10 days, but some people are at greater risk of severe complications, such as pneumonia. Influenza infection can also worsen certain chronic conditions, such as heart disease. (NACI, 2023).


Have more questions? Learn more about the influenza vaccine below:




COVID-19 vs. Flu


The flu vaccine will not protect you from COVID-19 or increase your risk of COVID-19 illness. One vaccine does not provide protection from both illnesses.


Some of the symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to the flu. It may be hard to tell the difference between COVID-19 and the flu based on symptoms alone.

Flu vs Common Cold


The common cold and influenza (flu) symptoms are often very similar. Use the chart below to help you determine if your symptoms are from a common cold or the flu.





Fever Rare Common, high (102°F - 104°F or 39°C - 40°C)
Starts suddenly, lasts 3 to 4 days
Not everyone with the flu gets a fever
General aches and pains Sometimes, mild Common; often severe
Muscle aches Sometimes; generally mild Often; can be severe
Tiredness and Weakness Sometimes; generally mild Common, may last 2 to 3 weeks or more
Extreme tiredness Unusual Common, starts early
Runny, stuffy nose Common Common
Sneezing Common Sometimes
Chest discomfort, coughing Sometimes, mild to moderate Common; can be moderate to severe. A cough may last for weeks
Complications Can lead to sinus congestion or infection, and earaches. Can lead to pneumonia and respiratory failure, and become life-threatening. Can worsen a chronic condition

Source: Ontario - Flu vs. Common Cold

Kids and the Flu - Why your kids should get the flu shot


Children aged 6 months to 59 months (under the age of 5) have a high burden of influenza-associated illness. The risk of serious infection and hospitalization is highest among the very young (Canadian Immunization Guide, 2023).


The risk of being admitted to the hospital because of flu symptoms compared with healthy older children and young adults. Once children enter daycare, school, or begin playing with groups of other children, their close contact enables the flu virus to spread quickly and easily among them. This helps make children one of the main spreaders of the virus both in the school and in the household.


Facts about children, the flu and vaccination:


Healthy children, particularly those 6 to 23 months of age, should receive the vaccine as they can develop influenza illness and serious complications. Only children 6 months of age and older can be vaccinated.


  • Children under 9 years old getting vaccinated for the first time need two doses of vaccine - the second dose at least one month after the first dose.
  • Children and teenagers who have been treated with aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) for long periods may have an increased risk of developing Reye's syndrome if they get the flu.
  • The vaccine is safe and well tolerated by healthy children. There is no evidence that it can cause neurological conditions such as autism, attention deficit disorder or hyperactivity disorder.


Tips to prevent the flu


Getting the flu vaccine is the best way to prevent the flu.

Everyone 6 months of age and older should consider getting vaccinated to protect themselves and their families from influenza, to avoid losing time from work or school, and to avoid spreading the virus to others.


What more can you do to avoid getting sick?


  • Hand washing, when done correctly, is the single most effective way to reduce your chances of getting sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you sneeze or cough.
  • Don't touch your face
  • Stay at home when you're sick
  • Clean (and disinfect) surfaces and shared items