Event Update: According to a media report, an 8 year old girl passed away in Kingston suddenly on January 20th from what doctors say was a combination of Influenza and Strep A.
▲According to KFL&A Public Health, this year's flu virus is the strongest its been since the H1N1 outbreak in 2010. They also say there's been an increase in cases as well as in deaths. Deaths are up 50 percent, typically in the elderly.
Influenza is a serious, acute respiratory illness that is easily transmitted from person to person or through direct contact with surfaces contaminated by the influenza virus. In particular, those at higher risk of influenza related complications include the elderly, young children, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems or chronic medical conditions. See Hazard tab for details.
About 10% of Ontarians become ill with seasonal influenza each year. Most people will recover within a couple of weeks but influenza is hardest on these high risk groups, who have a higher rate of hospitalisation and death.
“Once influenza has arrived, the most important thing is not to spread the infection to others, especially those who are most vulnerable to the complications of the disease,” said Dr Ian Gemmill, Medical Officer of Health for Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington Public Health.
“That means staying home from work or school when ill and taking every precaution not to expose those people who are most at risk for complications.” Residents can learn more about managing influenza in the home by visiting this page.
“Other things that one can do to avoid spreading influenza are not to visit people who are vulnerable to the complications of influenza, particularly those in long-term care homes, if one has not been immunised against influenza or has a febrile or respiratory illness”, said Dr Gemmill. “In addition, one should wash one’s hands frequently and practise cough etiquette, that is coughing into one’s sleeve.”
The good news is that influenza can be easily avoided through immunisation. Influenza vaccine is the safest and most effective way of protecting one’s self and one’s loved ones. It is not too late to get vaccine against influenza, since it also can protect against influenza B, which may appear later in the influenza season.