Hamilton health officials say an increase in flu activity throughout the city is signalling the start of the flu season in the region.
Officials say as of Dec. 8, 56 cases of lab confirmed influenza have been reported. Of those cases, 52 are Influenza A and four are Influenza B.
“While overall flu activity in Hamilton is still relatively low, it is increasing meaning it is still a good time to get the flu shot,” says Dr. Ninh Tran, Associate Medical Officer of Health. “Getting the flu shot also protects people around you, such as young children and seniors, who are at greater risk of getting seriously ill from the flu. It’s also important to take everyday precautions during the respiratory virus season including regular hand washing.”
The city says influenza activity to date is highest among young children under five years of age.
Pregnant women, babies, young children, and adults over the age of 65 are at higher risk for developing serious complications and being hospitalized from the flu.
The illness is considered serious and affects the breathing system. It starts suddenly and often lasts longer than a cold. Symptoms can include fever, headache, body aches, chills, tiredness, weakness, cough, runny eyes, stuffy nose and sore throat.
Health officials have offered the following everyday precautions to help prevent the spread of the flu.
- Washing your hands often with soap and warm water
- Using an alcohol-based hand rub if there is no soap and water
- Covering coughs and sneezes
- Not touching your face
- Staying home when you are sick
- Cleaning shared objects and surfaces such as doorknobs, light switches or keys often. The flu virus can live on surfaces for up to 8 hours.
- Not sharing food, drinks or personal items like toothbrushes
- Resting, sleeping, being active and eating nutritious food
Ontario residents six months of age and older can get flu shot from their primary care provider and anyone five years of age and older can also get their flu shot from a participating pharmacy.