SIMCOE, December 5th, 2017 The flu has officially arrived in Haldimand and Norfolk.
The Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit (HNHU) reports that three lab confirmed cases of influenza have been reported. One was influenza A and two influenza B. The HNHU would like to remind everyone that the flu shot is the best protection against getting the flu.
Influenza A is a potentially more infectious virus than influenza B, though both have the potential to be harmful.
“Sporadic influenza activity has been reported in other regions in Ontario. However, these are the first confirmed cases of influenza in Haldimand and Norfolk,” said Stacey Guthrie, an infection control professional at the HNHU.
People of any age can get the flu, but is particularly dangerous for the elderly, for children and for those with compromised immune systems. Symptoms include cough, fever, body aches and extreme exhaustion. This can be accompanied by nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
The flu spreads from an infected person through coughing or sneezing. The virus can live on hard surfaces for several hours and can be spread from surfaces such as toys and door knobs that an infected person has recently touched.
The flu shot is the best protection against getting the flu. Those seeking the shot should contact their family doctor or visit a local pharmacy to arrange a free flu shot. During the influenza season, Ontarians can visit https://www.ontario.ca/flu and use the Flu Vaccine Locator Tool to find an influenza immunization clinic nearby.
“It takes two weeks before you get maximum protection from the flu shot, so the sooner you get vaccinated, the better,” said Guthrie.
In addition to the flu shot, other prevention measures include frequently washing your hands, coughing or sneezing into your sleeves rather than your hands, and staying home from work or school when you or your child are ill. It is especially important if you are ill to avoid coming into contact with those in hospitals or long-term care facilities, as those people are more likely to have compromised immune systems.
For more information about the influenza virus and the flu shot, visit hnhu.org.
Stephanie Pongracz, Manager of Health Protection
Haldimand Norfolk Health Unit
(519)-426-6170 Ext. 3216