Flu has ar­rived in area

Simcoe Reformer - Times-Reformer - - FRONT PAGE -

It was only a mat­ter of time be­fore in­fluenza of­fi­cially ar­rived in the area.

Three con­firmed flu cases have been re­ported in the Haldimand Nor­folk area, the health unit said in a news re­lease on Tues­day.

One case was in­fluenza A while the other two were in­fluenza B. Type A is the more in­fec­tious of the two, said the re­lease.

“Spo­radic in­fluenza ac­tiv­ity has been re­ported in other re­gions in On­tario. How­ever, these are the first con­firmed cases of in­fluenza in Haldimand and Nor­folk,” Stacey Guthrie, an in­fec­tion con­trol pro­fes­sional at the Haldimand Nor­folk Health Unit, said in a me­dia re­lease.

Health unit of­fi­cials would not say in which county the cases were lo­cated, cit­ing pri­vacy rea­sons.

Flu spreads through con­tact with an in­fected per­son, in par­tic­u­lar sneez­ing and cough­ing, and through con­tact with sur­faces (toys, door knobs) the per­son has re­cently touched.

Nor­folk Gen­eral Hospi­tal has ad­vised the public to step up the hand wash­ing now that flu sea­son has ar­rived.

“Hand wash­ing is the sim­plest and most ef­fec­tive way to pre­vent the spread of dis­ease,” Dr. John Rosati, head of the emer­gency de­part­ment at NGH, says in a news re­lease.

“Thirty sec­onds with soap and wa­ter or hand san­i­tizer can make a dif­fer­ence. Cover your coughs and sneezes with your arm, not your hand. Above all else – get the shot.”

In­di­ca­tions out of Aus­tralia – which just wrapped up its flu sea­son — sug­gest this year’s vac­cine will be about 10 per cent ef­fec­tive. Still, med­i­cal of­fi­cials say some pro­tec­tion is bet­ter than none.

Those at high­est risk of in­fluenza in­clude the el­derly, chil­dren un­der five, preg­nant women, abo­rig­i­nals, those with asthma, the obese and those with se­ri­ous res­pi­ra­tory, car­diac and med­i­cal ill­nesses.

Im­mu­niza­tion can take two weeks to be­come fully ef­fec­tive, so the sooner the nee­dle is ad­min­is­tered the more pro­tec­tion it will af­ford. Flu vac­cines are avail­able at med­i­cal clin­ics and at most phar­ma­cies.

As for NGH it­self, many pa­tients re­cu­per­at­ing there will be ex­tra vul­ner­a­ble to the flu and other air-borne ill­nesses. The hospi­tal asks vis­i­tors to take ad­van­tage of the al­co­hol-based hand san­i­tiz­ing sta­tions at all en­trances on the way in and on the way out.

As well, NGH asks any­one who wishes to visit pa­tients at the hospi­tal to sched­ule an­other time if they them­selves are feel­ing un­der the weather.

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