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First Confirmed Influenza Case in the Porcupine Health Unit Area

Timmins, Ontario - Tuesday, November 28, 2017

The Porcupine Health Unit is reporting the first case of influenza A in the Cochrane District. This first case was identified on November 27, in Timmins.

According to Stéphanie Brunet-Guppy, a Public Health Nurse in the Infectious Diseases Program at the Porcupine Health Unit, “Now that we’ve seen a case in the Porcupine Health Unit area, we can expect other cases to show up throughout our region. We encourage everyone to get immunized. Flu vaccine is available at your local health unit, physician’s office or pharmacies.”

Influenza is a respiratory infection caused by a virus. People who get influenza may have a fever, cough, sore throat, muscle aches and pains, headache and fatigue. Children can also experience earaches, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Most people who get influenza feel much sicker than they would with a simple cold or stomach “flu”. Symptoms could persist for several weeks.

Influenza spreads easily from person to person through coughing and sneezing, and by direct contact with infected surfaces. When there are many people in close proximity, such as in shopping malls, schools and workplaces, it increases the risk of becoming infected.

If you do get sick, Stéphanie Brunet-Guppy recommends that you stay home to avoid passing the flu to others, get some rest, drink plenty of fluids and wash your hands frequently to reduce the risk of transmitting influenza to others. If your symptoms become worse, you should contact your primary care provider.

‘‘The best way to protect yourself is to get immunized,” says Brunet-Guppy.

Typically it takes about two weeks following immunization to develop protection against influenza and protection may last up to one year. People who receive the vaccine can still get influenza, but if they do, it is usually milder. However, the vaccine will not protect against colds and other respiratory illnesses that may be mistaken for influenza.

Brunet-Guppy notes that everyone needs to do his or her part to prevent the spread of influenza. She suggests washing your hands; coughing and sneezing into your sleeve; keeping commonly touched surfaces clean; and staying home if you’re sick. She adds, “You may be healthy and think there is no need to protect yourself but, in fact, you could transmit the infection to someone who is at higher risk of complications, such as the elderly or young children.”

The Porcupine Health Unit is located in Northeastern Ontario, serving the entire Cochrane District and Hornepayne, in Algoma District. The main office is located in Timmins, Ontario, with branch offices in Cochrane, Hearst, Hornepayne, Iroquois Falls, Kapuskasing, Matheson, Moosonee and Smooth Rock Falls.