by Kris Sample, Webmaster, Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit
(Leeds-Grenville) To date, there has been an increase in influenza activity in Ontario. Across Canada, influenza A (H1N1) is the dominant circulating influenza A subtype. This is the same sub type that was responsible for the Pandemic influenza predominate in 2009. This subtype is contained in the trivalent flu vaccine this year. H1N1 affects those under the age of 65 and poses a particular risk to children under the age of 5.
The flu vaccine decreases the risk of adults and children getting the influenza virus. The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit recommend annual immunization against influenza for any persons over 6 months of age. It is particularly important that parents and young children be vaccinated to protect themselves and others from influenza.
Getting immunized against influenza is easy, convenient, and free. See your health care provider or go to your local pharmacy. Please note that you will need to bring your health card for flu shots at pharmacies and that pharmacist cannot give vaccine to persons under 5 years of age. Check out the list of participating pharmacies at http://www.healthunit.org.
Influenza is a preventable illness that is extremely contagious and is capable of spreading rapidly from person to person. To protect themselves as well as others: Get a flu shot, wash your hands, use hand sanitizer, keep frequently touched hard surfaces clean and disinfected, cover your cough, and stay home when you are sick. If you have signs and symptoms of influenza, see your health care provider as soon as possible.