Event Update: As reported by the Santé et Services sociaux Québec, there is ▲high influenza activity and increased circulation of gastroenteritis in Quebec.
Although influenza activity in Quebec remains high, data suggest that the situation has improved since the holiday season. The national director of public health, Dr. Horacio Arruda, is also reassuring Quebecers that the province is NOT experiencing a "pandemic"; the current situation cannot be compared to the H1N1 epidemic. The strain of influenza subtype A (H3N2) has been circulating in Quebec for many years. Although influenza A (H3N2) A/Victoria/361/2011 has appeared in Quebec for the first time this season, it was circulated in the southern hemisphere during the last flu season. It was therefore expected and was included in the 2012-13 vaccine in countries of the northern hemisphere. The vaccine is the best way to protect yourself safely from complications of the flu.
Preventive health measures
There are simple ways to reduce the transmission of viruses, such as washing hands frequently with soap and water, using an antiseptic hand wash, coughing or sneezing into an elbow, not sharing utensils or drinks, and staying home when you have the flu or gastroenteritis.
The main symptoms of seasonal flu are a sudden fever, fatigue, headache, cough, chest pain, muscle aches and pains. These typically last three to seven days. The main symptoms of gastroenteritis include: abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea sometimes important. See Hazard tab for details.
Visit or stay at home?
For those belonging to a vulnerable group (infant, pregnant women, people with chronic illness, elderly), it is best to consult a doctor in case of flu or gastroenteritis. For others, it is best to just stay home, rest and stay hydrated. If, however, a consultation is necessary, it is important to consider the following:
• If in doubt, it is recommended to call Info-Santé at 8-1-1. Qualified nurses provide advice on whether a medical consultation is required.
• If a consultation is recommended, it is best to go to doctor's office or clinic appointment, since the vast majority of people do not require laboratory analysis and specialized medical treatment. It is only if the doctor detects a further illness that will guide the person to the nearest hospital to undergo further examination.
• In case of more serious symptoms (high body temperature despite treatment against fever, inability to eat or drink for several hours, inability to walk or stand, sudden confusion, convulsions), it is recommended to visit emergency department.
To help you make the right decision at the right time and the best way to view, refer to the Help page decision on the Ministry's website: www.msss.gouv.qc.ca/press.
Vaccination remains the most effective way to safely protect the complications of flu.
Remember that the vaccine is free for people belonging to the most vulnerable groups, namely:
• people at risk of developing complications:
- children 6 to 23 months;
- pregnant women in good health at the 2nd or 3rd trimester of pregnancy;
- people with chronic disease;
- people 60 years and older;
• people at risk of developing complications and the babies under 6 months;
• and health workers.
Any other person may be vaccinated for a nominal fee. For more information on the vaccination campaign against seasonal flu, contact your health center and social services centers (CSSS) or visit www.infogrippe.gouv.qc.ca
HSW comment: The source of this information is available in French ONLY. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of the translation. Please refer to the original source