The Northwestern Health Unit reports a first case of influenza has been confirmed in the region.
Having one positive case means that there are other, non-lab tested cases in the area.
Influenza cases this early in the season are rare, and the health unit is urging everyone to get a 'flu shot right away as the vaccine takes two weeks to work.
“The 'flu vaccine is the best way to prevent the 'flu [and] it is important to get the shot as soon as possible,” said Dr. Kit Young-Hoon, the medical officer of health at the Northwestern Health Unit.
'Flu shots are free of charge for all Ontario residents.
Many pharmacies can give the shot to anyone over five years of age, with no appointment needed.
“Pharmacies, health-care providers, and the [Northwestern Health Unit] offer 'flu shots, however, families with young children should see us or their health-care provider to get their shot,” Dr. Young-Hoon said.
To prevent influenza, get a 'flu shot, cough and sneeze into your sleeve, and wash your hands often.
“If you do happen to get sick, remember to stay home from work or school and avoid public places until you're feeling better,” Dr. Young-Hoon advised.
You also should not visit friends and family in hospitals or long-term care homes when you have a fever or are unwell with an illness that can spread to others (e.g., cold, 'flu, vomiting, diarrhea, etc.)
If you need medical care for a 'flu or cold virus, try calling Telehealth first at 1-866-797-0000.