Five cases of flu confirmed in Gray-Bruce last week



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A person gets shot during a flu vaccine program.

THE CANADIAN PRESS / Jeff McIntosh

The number of confirmed cases of influenza A doubled in Gray-Bruce last week.
A total of five cases of influenza A were confirmed in Gray-Bruce between December 2 and 8, bringing the total number of cases confirmed this season to 10. The Gray Bruce Health Unit received its first confirmed case on November 18, approximately even the first case was confirmed last year.
Denna Leach, manager of public health for infectious diseases at the health facility, said the increase in reported cases is an important reminder for people to do their part to help control the spread of the virus.
"Our hope is that we can continue to mitigate these rates for people who continue to get flu shots, stay home if they are sick, wash their hands and stay as healthy as possible," Leach said. "We are hopeful that we will not increase as we continue to try to reduce the spread of the flu."
Influenza is a contagious respiratory disease from which most people recover after a few days, but can be fatal for some – particularly the elderly, young children, pregnant women or people with certain chronic diseases.
Symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle and body aches, headaches, and fatigue. Vomiting and diarrhea may occur due to the flu, although it is more common in children than in adults.
Leach said that it is never too late to take the flu vaccine, which is available in pharmacies and health professionals. Flu vaccine clinics are also run on family health teams and other groups of doctors.
"You have to get the flu shot to work," Leach said. "But if you are visiting seniors or young people during the holiday season, now is a good time to take the flu shot, which will allow them to be protected during the Christmas holidays."
Leach said that while last year's shot was a little disappointing in terms of effectiveness, the first signs are that this year's shot is the one that best matches the tensions that have occurred in the rounds.
"Right now, we're hoping it's a better game," Leach said.
New this season, the health unit has included a weekly flu bulletin on its website. The bulletin, found on the main website www.publichealthgreybruce.on.ca under the "Hot Topics" tab, is updated every Tuesday with previous week's influenza activity.
The health unit traditionally begins tracking cases of influenza from September 1 through the end of March. Last week was the 15th week of the flu season of 2018-19.
Although there have been five reported cases of influenza A, there have been no reported cases of influenza B or influenza A and B so far this season.
And there has yet to be a flu outbreak in any nursing home, nursing home or hospital in Gray-Bruce.
Leach said they hope to keep the risk of an outbreak as low as possible by encouraging anyone who is not feeling well to postpone their visits to anyone in hospitals, nursing homes or long-term care until they are feeling better.
"Even if they are feeling good, using hand sanitizers as they enter and leave these sites will help reduce the spread of infections or any existing germs in the community," said Leach.

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