Influenza has arrived in the Quinte region, with four confirmed cases of Influenza being reported at a Belleville area retirement home. Quinte Health Care (QHC) has also confirmed four cases of Influenza in patients admitted to hospital.
Residents of all ages are advised to take precautions to reduce the spread of the flu, which typically peaks during the holiday season. Influenza is spread by coughing and sneezing small droplets. The influenza virus is able to live on hard surfaces for up to 48 hours.
Individuals are encouraged to take the following steps to reduce the spread of Influenza:
- Get the flu shot. Since it takes two weeks for the Influenza vaccine to take effect, it is very important to get your Influenza vaccine as soon as possible. Influenza vaccine is available at public health offices, pharmacies and through primary health care providers.
- Clean frequently touched surfaces such as doorknobs, phones, TV remotes.
- 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.
Hastings Prince Edward Public Health (HPEPH) and QHC are advising the public to stay home if they do develop mild symptoms of Influenza. Common Influenza symptoms include fever, cough, muscle aches and pain, chills, fatigue (tiredness), loss of appetite, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose.
The Emergency Departments at QHC hospitals typically experience an increase in visits and longer wait times over the holiday season as a result of patients seeking health care for flu-like symptoms.
While patients with severe flu symptoms, such as difficulty breathing or shortness of breath (when doing very little or resting), should go to the emergency room, patients experiencing mild flu-like symptoms are asked to stay home, rest and drink plenty of fluids. Patients with moderate symptoms may wish to contact their primary care provider (family physician, nurse practitioner or walk-in clinic. A schedule of walk-in clinic hours during the holiday season will be available at www.qhc.on.ca.) Most people recover from the flu in 7 to 10 days. In order to prevent spreading Influenza, avoid close contact with other people until your symptoms subside.
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.