Influenza activity is widespread throughout the province including the five counties served by the Eastern Ontario Health Unit.
Confirmed influenza outbreaks have been identified in several institutions, including schools, retirement homes and long-term care facilities.
“The flu season started early this year with cases reported since November,” says Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, Medical Officer of Health at the EOHU.
“The circulating strain is influenza A, H3N2, and illness could be more severe,” he adds.
That being said, Dr. Roumeliotis says this year’s flu shot is a good match against influenza A, H3N2, and he reminds those who have not yet received it that it’s not too late to get immunized.
The flu shot is available through physicians, some local pharmacies or by appointment at one of the Eastern Ontario Health Unit’s offices.
Besides protecting themselves, people who get the shot also reduce the risk of infecting their loved ones as well as vulnerable people around them.
The flu is not a simple cold, and while most people who come down with it will suffer from mild symptoms that do not require medical attention, the flu can be dangerous and even deadly.
It is therefore important for everyone to get the flu shot.
This is especially the case for individuals who live or work with at-risk populations such as infants under six months old who are too young to be vaccinated, the elderly, and people with chronic medical conditions.
Besides getting immunized, one of the best ways to reduce the spread of the virus and to protect vulnerable members of the public is to stay home when sick.
Do not visit relatives in residences, long-term care facilities and hospitals if you are sick.
Help reduce the spread of flu. Wash your hands with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Cough or sneeze into your elbow.
For more information about the flu and how to prevent it from spreading, visit the EOHU’s website at www.eohu.ca or call 613-933-1375 or 1 800 267-7120 and ask for Health Line.