The Porcupine Health Unit is reporting the ▲first case of influenza A in the Cochrane District. This first case was identified December 18, 2012, in an adult woman residing in Kapuskasing.
According to Renelle Lafleur, a Public Health Nurse in the Infectious Diseases Program at the Porcupine Health Unit, “Now that we’ve seen a case in Kapuskasing, we can expect other cases to show up in Timmins and throughout our area pretty soon.”
Influenza is a respiratory infection caused by a virus. People who get influenza may have a fever, cough, sore throat, muscle aches and pains, headache and fatigue. Children can also experience earaches, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Most people who get influenza feel much sicker than they would with a simple cold or stomach “flu”. Symptoms could persist for several weeks. See Hazard tab for details.
If you do get sick, Renelle Lafleur recommends that you stay home to avoid passing the flu to others, get some rest, drink plenty of fluids and wash your hands frequently to reduce the risk of transmitting influenza to others. If your symptoms become worse, you should contact your primary care provider.
“The best way to protect yourself is to get immunized,” says Lafleur. This year’s flu vaccine protects against three strains: A/California/7/2009 (H1N1), A/Victoria/361/2011 (H3N2) and B/Wisconsin/1/2010. When there is a good match between the influenza circulating in the community, the vaccine can prevent influenza illness in about 80% of healthy children and adults.
It takes about two weeks following immunization to develop protection against influenza; protection may last up to one year. People who receive the vaccine can still get influenza, but if they do, it is usually milder. However, the vaccine will not protect against colds and other respiratory illnesses that may be mistaken for influenza.
Lafleur notes that everyone needs to do his or her part to prevent the spread of influenza. Here are a few simple steps: clean your hands; cough and sneeze into your sleeve; keep commonly touched surfaces clean; and stay home if you’re sick. She adds, “You may be healthy and think there is no need to protect yourself but in fact, you could transmit the infection to someone who is at higher risk of complications, such as the elderly or young children.”
For further information, please contact:
Public Health Nurse
Porcupine Health Unit
(705) 267-1181 ext. 386
Porcupine Health Unit
(705) 267-1181 ext. 413