The first case of the influenza virus has been reported in the region this year. The Northwestern Health Unit says that although only one case has been reported, having one positive means that there are other, non-lab tested cases in the area.

“If you do happen to get sick, remember to stay home from work or school and avoid public places until you’re feeling better,” said Dr. Young-Hoon, Medical Officer of Health at the NWHU. “You 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.”

The health unit adds that influenza cases this early into the winter season are rare, and are reminding residents to get their flu shot as soon as possible. The influenza shot takes roughly two weeks to take effect.

“The flu vaccine is the best way to prevent the flu, it is important to get the shot as soon as possible. Pharmacies, health care providers and the NWHU offer flu shots, however, families with young children should see us or their health care provider to get their shot.”

Young-Hoon adds that many pharmacies are not able to give the flu shot to anyone under the age of 5, and you will need to go to a primary care provider or the health unit to get a flu shot for youth. A flu shot is recommended for anyone over the age of 6 months.

Pregnant women, adults and children with chronic health conditions, and residents who look after high-risk residents are all at high-risks of contracting the influenza virus. Across the country, there are more than 12,000 hospitalizations and 3,500 deaths are related to the flu each and every year.

You may have caught the flu if you have:

  • fever

  • chills

  • cough

  • runny eyes

  • stuffy nose

  • sore throat

  • headache

  • muscle aches

  • extreme weakness and tiredness

  • loss of appetite

Be sure to:

  • stay home and get plenty of rest

  • drink lots of fluids

  • avoid caffeine

  • speak to your doctor or nurse practitioner about over-the-counter medications that can help you feel better (basic pain or fever relievers), but do not give acetylsalicylic acid (ASA or Aspirin®) to children or teenagers under the age of 18

  • treat muscle pain using a hot water bottle or heating pad — apply heat for short periods of time

  • take a warm bath

  • gargle with a glass of warm salt water or suck on hard candy or lozenges

  • use spray or saline drops for a stuffy nose

  • avoid alcohol and tobacco

Call your doctor or nurse practitioner if:

  • you don’t start to feel better after a few days

  • your symptoms get worse

  • you are in a high-risk group and develop flu symptoms

For more information:
Flu season fast-approaching

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