First Lab-Confirmed Case of Influenza in Region Brings Reminder for People to Get Vaccinated
Influenza is officially here, and so is a reminder for local residents to protect themselves against the flu.
The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit reports the first lab-confirmed case of influenza for the 2019-2020 flu season in its region, which includes the City of Kawartha Lakes, Northumberland County and Haliburton County. While the local flu case – confirmed on Wednesday – is no surprise, the Health Unit says it is a good reminder for people to get their flu shot.
“This year is no different from previous ones in that we typically see the first evidence of flu activity in November,” says Marianne Rock, Manager of Health Protection with the HKPR District Health Unit. “Since we know flu is circulating in our community, we need to take steps to prevent illness, including getting our free flu vaccine.”
The flu vaccine is recommended for anyone six months of age and older. This is especially true for those most at risk of getting sick from flu, including: babies, young children, seniors, pregnant women and people with compromised immune systems.
Local residents can get a flu shot from their health care provider or pharmacy. The Health Unit is also offering flu shots for children under five years of age, at which time their parents and guardians can also be vaccinated. To book an appointment for these ‘family-friendly’ flu shot clinics, call the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 1507.
This year’s flu vaccine is designed to protect against two strains of influenza A – H1N1 and H3N2 – and a strain of influenza B. This is based on the best predictions of what health experts think will be the main flu virus strains circulating this influenza season.
While the effectiveness of the flu shot varies from year-to-year, based on how well the vaccine matches up with the circulating flu viruses, it is still worthwhile getting vaccinated, Rock adds.
“Even when there is a less-than-ideal match, the seasonal flu shot can still provide protection and often reduces the severity of symptoms,” she says. “The bottom line is that even if you get the flu after receiving the flu shot, your illness is usually milder than if you had not been vaccinated at all.”
To further stop the spread of flu this winter, the Health Unit also advises:
- Washing your hands thoroughly and often.
- Sneezing and coughing into your sleeve.
- Staying home from work and school if you are sick.
- Keeping your body’s immune system strong by eating well, getting sufficient sleep and being physically active.
Influenza virus spreads mainly from person to person through coughing or sneezing. People can become infected by touching objects or surfaces with flu viruses on them and then touching their eyes, mouth or nose. Flu symptoms include fever, chills, cough, sore throat, headache, muscle aches and extreme weakness and fatigue.
For media inquiries, contact:
Marianne Rock, Manager, Health Protection, HKPR District Health Unit, 1-866-888-4577, ext. 1486