This week, the Grey Bruce Health Unit received laboratory test results confirming influenza A in a resident of southern Grey County. This is the first confirmed case of influenza (flu) in Grey Bruce this season. Health care providers in Grey Bruce have been notified and will perform testing as required.
Flu activity has been unusually quiet this season with 279 laboratory confirmed cases within the province between September 1, 2015 and January 2, 2016 (as compared with over 1,000 cases reported for the same period last year). [source: Ontario Respiratory Pathogen Bulletin] However, presence of the disease can be expected to increase at any time.
Symptoms of flu may include: headache, chills and cough, followed rapidly by fever, loss of appetite, muscle aches, fatigue, runny nose, sneezing, watery eyes and throat irritation.
Between 4,000 and 8,000 Canadians die each year from complications of influenza and about 20,000 people with the flu are hospitalized.
Immunization is the best way to protect yourself and others more vulnerable against influenza. This year immunizations are available through area health care providers and most pharmacies. Other ways to protect against influenza and other viruses include:
Wash your hands often or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Contain your cough by covering your mouth with your sleeve, not your hand.
If feeling unwell, stay home and rest.
If sick, don’t visit a loved one in a hospital or long-term care facility. With weakened immune systems, the elderly and those in hospital are more at risk of developing serious complications from influenza that are life threatening.
For further information, call Public Health at 519-376-9420 or 1-800-263-3456 or visit our website at www.publichealthgreybruce.on.ca.