Health unit reports widespread flu activity in Chatham-Kent

Chatham-Kent is currently experiencing the widespread influenza activity which is throughout Ontario, announced Chatham-Kent Public Health Unit.

The following information was provided about influenza, signs & symptoms, as well as prevention and treatment.

Influenza is often called the “flu”. It is a serious viral respiratory illness, which can result in complications such as pneumonia, sinus infections and ear infections. In people with pre-existing cardio-respiratory disease and in the elderly, influenza can be deadly.  Strokes and heart attacks are often preceded by influenza.  Influenza spreads easily from person to person through close contact.  Dry air increases our susceptibility at this time of year.

Signs and Symptoms:

Influenza usually starts very suddenly with chills, fever, dry cough and muscle aches.  Headache, tiredness/weakness, sore throat, and runny nose may also occur, sometimes with diarrhea in young children.

What to Do if You Might Have Influenza:

  • Stay home until you feel well.
  • Cough into a tissue or your sleeve. Discard used tissues and wash your hands.
  • Wash hands frequently using soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Do not share anything that goes in your mouth.
  • Avoid visitors.
  • See your health care provider if symptoms become worse.

Prevention and treatment

Yearly immunization against influenza is the best way to protect yourself and others from illness, and it is free. It is not too late to get your influenza vaccine. Frequent hand washing with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub is also important. An antiviral medication can also be prescribed by your health care provider to decrease the severity of your illness if it is caught early.

If you have any specific questions or need further information contact the Chatham-Kent Public Health Unit at 519-355-1071 ext. 5902.

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