The flu has arrived

The first confirmed case of influenza in the region has prompted the local health unit to remind the public to get their flu shot.

Marianne Rock the manager of health protection with the Haliburton Kawartha Pine Ridge District Health Unit said that it’s typical for the first case to be detected in November and now that it’s in the region it’s important to prepare.

This year’s flu vaccine protects against two strains of influenza A (H1N1 and H3N2) as well as a strain of influenza B. Some years the strains chosen have been more accurate than others as experts try to project which will be dominant during flu season.

Either way Rock said the vaccine offers protection.

“Even when there is a less-than-ideal match the seasonal flu shot can still provide protection and often reduces the severity of symptoms” she said in a press release. “The bottom line is that even if you get the flu after receiving the flu shot your illness is usually milder than if you had not been vaccinated at all.”

The flu vaccine is recommended for those over the age of six months with the health unit offering flu shots specifically for those five and younger. (The parent or guardian bringing the child can also get their shot at the same time. Call 1-866-888-4577 ext. 1507 for more information on this program.)

Symptoms of the flu include fever chills sore throat headache muscle aches extreme weakness and fatigue.

Complications can arise from the flu and can include pneumonia and heart attacks according to the provincial government causing about 12200 hospitalizations and 3500 deaths in Canada annually.

Those vulnerable to complications and hospitalization include babies under six months children under five people over 65 years old pregnant women and those with underlying conditions.

The flu shot is free from pharmacists and health-care providers.

Tips for this flu season:

Wash your hands often and thoroughly

Sneeze or cough into your sleeve

Stay home if you’re sick

Eat well get enough sleep and remain physically active to keep your immune system up

Echo staff