The Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit (HNHU) has received a significant number of positive lab results related to influenza (flu) up to this point in the 2022/23 flu season.
Between October 11 and November 29, the HNHU received notification of 141 lab-confirmed flu cases in Haldimand or Norfolk residents. By comparison, during the same period of the 2019/20 flu season,141 there was just one confirmed flu case in Haldimand or Norfolk.
The flu can also spread if someone touches surfaces where these droplets have landed and then they touch their mouth, nose or eyes.
“The hospital system in Ontario is currently overwhelmed with individuals seeking care for influenza and other respiratory viruses,” said Dr.Matthew Strauss, Acting Medical Officer of Health for the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit. “There is strong evidence that influenza vaccination can prevent trips to the ER for flu. I strongly recommend that you get your flu shot ASAP on this basis, particularly if you are in a high-risk group.” The flu shot is now available through local pharmacies or health care providers. Children six months to two years can only get their flu shot from a doctor or nurse practitioner.
HNHU recommends the following measures to protect you and your community from the flu:
- Get vaccinated against the flu each fall.
- Stay home and away from others if you feel sick.
- Improve ventilation in indoor and shared spaces.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. Use hand sanitizer if soap and water aren’t available.
- Wash your hands before touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects.
Individuals at higher risk for complications and hospitalization from the flu include:
- Babies and children under five years of age.
- People 65 years old and older.
- People who are pregnant.
- People with underlying health conditions.
- Residents of nursing homes and other chronic care facilities.
Anyone experiencing symptoms of respiratory illness should:
- Stay at home until you do not have a fever and your symptoms have been improving for at least 24 hours (or 48 hours if you had nausea, vomiting or diarrhea).
- Do not visit persons in hospitals, retirement/long-term care homes, or persons who may be at higher risk of illness (e.g., seniors and immunocompromised persons).
- Seek medical attention for severe or worsening symptoms, or if in a high-risk group.
For more information about the influenza virus and the flu shot, visit hnhu.org.