First case of influenza confirmed locally

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The season’s first case of influenza A virus within Public Health Sudbury & Districts’ area has been confirmed in Greater Sudbury.

Public Health Sudbury & Districts is reminding residents that the influenza vaccine is offered free in Ontario for anyone aged six months or older and remains the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from influenza. The vaccine is particularly recommended for people with medical conditions who are at risk of developing complications from an influenza infection.

“Getting your flu shot is the most effective way to protect yourself and others,” said Annie Berthiaume, Clinical Services Manager with Public Health Sudbury & Districts. “It can take up to two weeks after being vaccinated to develop protection against influenza and that’s why getting your flu shot early is so important,” said Berthiaume.

This year, the majority of flu vaccines being offered in the community protect against two strains of influenza A and two strains of influenza B. A high dose vaccine, containing three influenza strains is publicly funded and may also be available for people 65 years of age and older. However, should high dose vaccine be unavailable, seniors are strongly encouraged to receive another influenza vaccine product to protect against influenza.

People who are ill with influenza or other respiratory infections should stay home to avoid infecting others, especially the elderly. Frequent handwashing and covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue or a sleeve can also reduce the spread of influenza.

Influenza is a highly contagious respiratory virus that can cause fever, cough, muscle aches, and fatigue. Most people will recover from influenza infection within a week to 10 days, but some are at greater risk of developing more severe complications such as pneumonia. Children can also have mild stomach upset due to influenza. The most common symptoms usually include fever, runny nose, and cough.

The influenza vaccine is available at many locations throughout the community including local pharmacies and health care providers’ offices. In addition, Public Health Sudbury & Districts offers the vaccine at many of its locations by appointment.

For more information about the influenza vaccine, ways to prevent getting sick, as well as how to treat mild symptoms at home, visit phsd.ca or call 705.522.9200, ext. 301 (toll-free 1.866.522.9200).