People have been talking about the flu and colds going around for some time, but now healthcare organizations are chiming in.
The Hastings Prince Edward Public Health has noted an increase in respiratory outbreaks in the region. There is now a total of 7 respiratory outbreaks in Long Term Care Homes and Retirement Homes (LTCH/RH) in Hastings Prince Edward area. Five out of the seven outbreaks are confirmed Influenza A (H3 strain).
In addition to the outbreaks in LTCH/RHs, there have been 12 influenza A cases confirmed in the community. There are also several other respiratory viruses circulating in the region, including Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), Parainfluenza, Rhinovirus, and Corona Virus. It is likely that influenza and other respiratory viruses will continue to circulate over the next two to three months.
The number of patients being seen in the Emergency Departments at Quinte Health Care hospitals has risen by 32% – from 290 visits per day to 372. The increase is a result of patients seeking health care for flu-like symptoms. This can mean longer wait times.
While patients with severe flu symptoms should go to the emergency room, patients with mild symptoms should stay home and rest, and patients with moderate symptoms contact their primary care provider (family physician, nurse practitioner or walk-in clinic). In order to help decide when to attend the ER, the public is asked to use the following infographic.
Individuals are asked to not come to the hospital to visit patients if they have any cold or flu-like symptoms including cough, sore throat, headache and/or fever.
Hastings Prince Edward Public Health would like to remind the public of the key flu messages:
Wash your hands frequently
Cough and sneeze into the bend of your arm, not into your hand
Avoid touching your nose, mouth or eyes with your hands
Clean objects and surfaces that a lot of people touch, such as: doorknobs, phones and television remotes
Eat healthy foods and stay physically active to keep your immune system strong
Get plenty of rest or sleep
If you do get sick, stay home and avoid contact with other people until your symptoms are gone. Influenza vaccine is available at public health offices, pharmacies and health care providers, although the best the time to receive the influenza vaccine is in October, November or December before the peak of influenza season.