KENORA – Health – Influenza, also called “the flu” has been confirmed in the Sioux Lookout, Atikokan, and Kenora areas. It is certain that others in the region have also been infected and that influenza is now a risk in all communities in northwestern Ontario.
Influenza is a respiratory infection that can feel similar to COVID-19 or a bad cold. Colds do not normally lead to hospitalization, but influenza and COVID-19 can both cause severe illness in some people. Protecting yourself, slowing the spread, and protecting those most likely to develop severe illness is important.
Symptoms of influenza usually include fever, chills and shakes, headache, muscle aches, sore throat, cough, extreme fatigue and sometimes include nasal or sinus congestion. Some people also experience vomiting and diarrhea, especially children.
Now is the time to protect yourself and each other. Things you can do include:
- Get your flu shot. Anyone 6 months old and up are eligible and encouraged to get a flu shot. Get your shot from the pharmacy, your health care provider, or book into a NWHU clinic.
- Stay home when unwell. Stay home when sick and try to keep separate from others in the household if possible.
- Don’t go out until you’re feeling better. Before going out of the house, you should have no fever, and other symptoms should have improved for at least 24 hours. If illness included vomiting or diarrhea, stay home until those symptoms have been gone for at least 48 hours. If you are too sick to participate in normal daily activities, then you should stay home.
- Do not visit hospitals or Long Term Care homes. In extreme circumstances (such as a loved one at end-of-life), talk to the health care staff so that a plan can be made for you to visit safely without infecting others.
- Mask when household members are sick. If someone in your household is sick, wear a mask in public for at least the next 10 days, because you can infect other people before you have symptoms.
- Get help when needed. Call Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000 or your health care provider if you have severe symptoms and seek emergency care if you are having difficulty breathing.
- Learn more if your children are under 6 years old. Young children can become very sick quickly; the Canadian Pediatric Society has specific recommendations for this age group.