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January 11, 2013
Update: Influenza activity Grey Bruce, Ontario ~ Flu may finally be waning
According to a
, influenza and respiratory illnesses may finally be on the decline in Grey-Bruce, even as it surges across the rest of Canada and the United States.
Local health unit officials say lab confirmations of influenza have dropped off in the last couple of days, and emergency department surveillance as well suggests fewer people are seeking help for respiratory illnesses.
“I'm a little cautious because the first week of January was still high, so I think it's just this week that it's slowing down,” said Karen Sweiger, program manager for infectious diseases. “I'm hoping that was the peak.”
Grey-Bruce had the distinction of being one of the early hard hit areas of the province, seeing its first confirmed flu case at the end of October. There are
92 lab confirmed sporadic flu cases so far this season, which is more than double the number for all of last season.
Four long-term care/retirement facilities continue to experience outbreaks. Three of those have influenza A as well as a Noro-like gastrointestinal bug. The fourth has an outbreak of gastro illness only, Sweiger said.
“We need people to be aware of how easy it is for these illnesses to spread. It may not be your intention but the impact of the spread of these illnesses to hospitalized individuals, vulnerable people in Long-Term Care and Retirement Homes and young children can be devastating.
Please stay at home for 48 hours even after your illness (be it fever, vomiting, diarrhea) not only for you to fully recover but to keep others from getting it,” says Alanna Leffley, Senior Epidemiologist at the Grey Bruce Health Unit.
Public Health recommends that people stay home from work, school or daycare, and avoid visiting others when they are ill. Frequent hand washing, getting the flu shot and covering your cough will help reduce the spread of illness.
Public Health reminds everyone there are several things you can do to protect yourself and others from infection:
• Get the flu shot.
• Wash your hands often or use an alcohol-based sanitizer. The influenza virus can survive on unwashed hands for 5 minutes, on tissues or clothing for 8-10 hours and on hard surfaces such as telephones and computer keyboards for 2 days.
• Contain your cough by covering your mouth with your sleeve, not your hand.
• If feeling unwell, stay home and rest.
• If sick, don’t visit a loved one in hospital or long-term care facility. With weakened immune systems, the elderly and those in hospital are more at risk of developing serious complications of influenza which can be life threatening.
Get a flu shot; it takes two weeks for the vaccine to become fully effective. Influenza vaccine is available at doctor’s offices, selected pharmacies and at Public Health Flu Clinics across Grey Bruce.
For further information call Public Health at 519-376-9420 or 1-800-263-3456 or visit our website at
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