H1N1 Influenza in Thunder Bay

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Avian Influenza, Influenza, Thunder Bay

Influenza, Thunder Bay

Influenza Active in Thunder Bay

THUNDER BAY – Health – The H1N1 Influenza is active in Thunder Bay. The Thunder Bay District Health Unit are reporting that “Results of provincial surveillance over the first few months of this year’s flu season reveal that Thunder Bay leads the province with the highest number of emergency room visits for patients experiencing symptoms of influenza-like illness”.

“In addition, there have been 35 laboratory-confirmed cases of influenza in our district to date and many have resulted in severe illness with some individuals requiring hospitalization,” according to the TBDHU.

“The vast majority of the flu cases in our District have been in children under age five, and some have required hospitalization,” says medical officer of health, Dr. David Williams. “As we go into the holiday season and gather with family and friends, there is a concern the virus will easily spread through increased contact with others. We need to emphasize the importance of getting the flu shot this season to protect yourself and others, especially younger children, from getting the flu.”

This is a significant concern to the Health Unit’s public health officials who are urging members of the public to get a flu shot to help prevent the spread of the circulating virus over the holiday season.

Other groups at high risk for complications from the flu and encouraged to get the flu shot include: First Nations citizens on or off reserve, people with weakened immune systems, pregnant women, and older adults over 65. Caregivers of anyone in these groups should also get immunized.

The flu shot is still available through health care professionals and pharmacies. However, because pharmacies can only immunize children age 5 and over, and holiday hours are in effect for many health care provider offices, the Health Unit will be offering two public flu clinics for the convenience of those in the Thunder Bay area. These walk-in clinics will be held on Monday, December 23 and Monday, December 30 from 11 am to 2 pm at the Health Unit’s office at 999 Balmoral Street. Everyone over the age of 6 months is eligible and clients will be seen on a first-come, first-serve basis. Please note the following:

  • Those who are feeling unwell and have respiratory symptoms, including a cough and fever, should stay home and wait until they are feeling better before getting the flu shot.
  • Children over the age of 6 months and those visiting the clinic must have the consent of a legal parent or guardian if they are under the age of 16.
  • Please wear short sleeves to make it easier to be immunized.
  • This clinic is scent safe so please do not wear scented products.

People unable to attend these clinics can make an appointment at the Health Unit’s weekly immunization clinic, held every Wednesday from 1:00 pm to 6:00 pm. The next clinic is scheduled for Wednesday, January 8, 2014. Call 625-8346 to make an appointment. To find a flu shot provider near you, visit Ontario.ca/flu and click on the “FIND A FREE FLU CLINIC NEAR YOU” button.

The Health Unit reminds the public that they can prevent getting and spreading the flu and other infections by:

  • Getting a seasonal flu shot from the Health Unit or local health care provider.
  • Washing hands often, for at least 15 seconds with soap and warm water, or by using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Covering coughs/sneezes with the upper sleeve if no tissue is available.
  • Putting all used tissues in the garbage right away.
  • Staying at home from work, school or social events if sick to avoid spreading infections to others.