The season’s first confirmed cases of influenza A virus have been reported within Public Health Sudbury & Districts’ service area. This local activity is aligned with the sharp increase in influenza cases detected across Canada in the last few weeks. Area residents are reminded to protect themselves and others from respiratory infections by implementing simple and effective protective practices.
“Through the COVID-19 pandemic, we have learned of the simple ways to protect ourselves from respiratory disease. These behaviours, such as staying home when ill, handwashing, masking, and getting vaccinated, protect us from influenza as well as COVID-19,” said Justeen Mansourian, a public health nurse with Public Health Sudbury & Districts. “Influenza vaccine is still available at locations throughout the community, including local pharmacies and health care providers’ offices. Public Health Sudbury & Districts also offers flu vaccine by appointment at many of our locations,” added Mansourian.
“This year is unusual in that we are seeing a very late start to the influenza season, which, in Canada, typically runs from November to April. Our first cases are usually reported in December or January with the season wrapping up in March or April. The late season influenza trend is occurring across Canada, with influenza activity spiking in April and approaching seasonal levels in some parts of the country,” said Mansourian.
Public Health reminds residents that the influenza vaccine is offered free of charge in Ontario for anyone aged six months of age or older and remains the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from influenza. The vaccine is particularly recommended for people with medical conditions who are at risk of developing complications from an influenza infection, said Mansourian.
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.
With COVID-19 continuing to circulate widely in the community, and with some common symptoms to other respiratory illnesses, including influenza, it can be difficult to know what virus you have.
Regardless of the cause of the infection, the same protective measures still apply to help prevent becoming sick with or spreading influenza and other viruses:
- Stay home
- Take the Ministry of Health COVID-19 self-assessment and follow the recommendations provided as this relates to self-isolation and seeking testing for COVID-19 (if eligible)
- Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly for at least 15 seconds
- Wear a mask when in close contact with others
- Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue and discard used tissues immediately in the garbage
- Avoid contact with vulnerable persons
For more information on the influenza virus or influenza vaccination opportunities, please visit our website at phsd.ca or call Public Health Sudbury & Districts at 705.522.9200 (toll-free 1.866.522.9200)