The Haldimand Norfolk Health Unit says it received the first confirmed case of influenza for this season on Nov. 27.
The health unit says the flu shot is the best defence against getting the influenza virus, commonly known as the flu, and is available for free at doctor’s offices and local pharmacies. Health Canada recommends everyone aged six months and older to get annual flu shots. The shot takes two weeks to take effect.
“The flu shot works,” Dr. Shanker Nesathurai, Haldimand-Norfolk medical officer of health, said in a news release. “There is simply no better way to protect the health of yourself, your family and your neighbours than to get the vaccine.”
In Canada, the flu is one of the leading causes of death – claiming 3,500 lives last year. The flu is a serious condition that can lead to hospitalization in the young, elderly, or those with weakened immune systems. People infected with the flu can spread it to others one day before the first symptoms begin and five days afterwards. The virus can also live on surfaces for up to two days.
Here are some ways to prevent spreading the flu:
- Wash your hands often;
- Cough and sneeze into your upper sleeve, not your hands;
- Avoid touching your face;
- Clean commonly touched surfaces and items, such as toys, door handles and phones;
- And stay home if you or your child is sick
- A few common symptoms associated with the flu include fever, chills, cough, body aches, stuffy, runny nose, headache, fatigue, loss of appetite and/or sore throat.
Influenza can cause more severe illness than the common cold. The infectious period for influenza can last two to five days after the onset of symptoms (up to seven days in young children).
The flu shot is safe for pregnant women and nursing mothers, as well as those with an allergy to eggs. Severe reactions are extremely rare – you cannot get the flu from the flu shot.
For more information, visit hnhu.org/health-topic/all-about-influenza/.