SUDBURY–The Sudbury and District Health Unit is reporting the first laboratory confirmed case of seasonal influenza virus, type A for the City of Greater Sudbury. Influenza activity has been slowly increasing across the province over the last number of weeks and the Health Unit is encouraging all residents to protect themselves and others from the influenza virus by getting the free flu shot.
Influenza, or the flu, is a very contagious respiratory infection caused by the influenza virus. Symptoms include rapid onset of high fever, headache, sore throat, cough, and muscle aches and pains. Everyone is at risk of getting the flu and some people are at high risk of serious complications from the flu including pneumonia, bronchitis, and sinus and ear infections.
Those at highest risk of these complications are people with weakened immune systems, young children six months to 59 months of age, the elderly and pregnant women. “It is very important for people in these higher risk groups to get the flu shot” says Lisa Schell, Manager Clinical Services with the Sudbury and District Health Unit. People who live with or care for those at high risk of complications should also be immunized.
“Immunization is very effective at preventing illness and controlling the spread of influenza in the community,” said Schell. Since the start of this year’s flu season, testing by the National Microbiology Laboratory shows that the strains of influenza virus currently circulating in the province are similar to those contained in this year’s flu vaccine. Other measures such as frequent and thorough hand washing, covering coughs and sneezes, and staying home when sick with symptoms of fever and cough can also help reduce the spread of infection to others.
Influenza vaccination is still available by appointment or on a drop-in basis at all Sudbury and District Health Unit offices, including Mindemoya, for anyone wishing to get their free flu shot. Flu shots are also still available through health care providers and various pharmacies in the community.