Event Update: According to a media report, employees and residents at several long-term care homes in Sudbury and Manitoulin districts are catching a break now that influenza outbreaks have been declared over.
About half a dozen homes were in outbreaks in late December and in January. Only a single unit at the Elizabeth Centre in Val Caron is still experiencing an outbreak – but that is of a respiratory illness, not the flu.
Lisa Schell, manager of clinical programs for the Sudbury & District Health Unit, said ▲91 cases of influenza A and one of influenza B have been laboratory-confirmed this flu season.
At this point last year, residents in the health unit’s catchment area were just reporting the first cases of influenza. From Nov. 1, 2011 to March 31, 2012, there were 26 confirmed cases of influenza.
Schell said the flu virus will likely remain in the community until about the end of March.
Although everyone is at risk of getting the flu, seniors, young children and those with underlying medical conditions are at higher risk of experiencing serious complications including pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus and ear infections and even death.
Symptoms of influenza may include fever, runny eyes, headache, sore throat, extreme weakness, chills, cough, stuffy nose, muscle aches, and fatigue. See Hazard tab for details.
In addition to getting the flu shot, all residents are reminded of the following steps to take to protect themselves and others from illness:
• Wash your hands often and especially before eating using liquid soap and water. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
• Cough into a tissue or your sleeve and throw away used tissues immediately.
• Stay home if you are ill.
Free flu shots continue to be available by appointment at all SDHU locations, with drop-in services possible at the main Sudbury office at 1300 Paris Street. The free flu shot is also available at participating pharmacies, walk-in clinics, community health centres, and your health care provider.