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Thursday, January 03, 2019

First case of influenza confirmed in the community

The first laboratory confirmed case of influenza A virus has been reported in the Greater Sudbury area, and Public Health Sudbury & Districts is reminding residents that it’s not too late to get a flu shot. As of December 15, 2018, 769 cases of influenza have been confirmed in Ontario. Among these cases the majority of infections have been caused by the influenza A virus.

“Getting your flu shot is the most effective way to reduce the spread of influenza in our community—it protects you and others around you,” said Kim Presta, manager in Public Health Sudbury & Districts’ Clinical Services Division. “It can take up to two weeks after being vaccinated to develop ideal protection against influenza, and that’s why getting your flu shot early is so important,” said Presta.

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. This is different than in previous years where only one influenza B strain was covered in the adult formulation of vaccine. In addition, a pain-free nasal spray vaccine is also available for children and youth aged 2 to 17 years.

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).

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