Influenza Season Has Begun
Seasonal influenza, or "the flu", is here. lab-confirmed cases of Influenza A have been reported in long-term care homes and in the community. Influenza activity usually peaks over the holiday season, and several other respiratory viruses also circulate this time of the year, causing more people to visit their health care provider 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 with mild symptoms should stay home and rest. Patients with moderate symptoms may wish to contact their primary care provider (family physician, nurse practitioner or walk-in clinic).
To help you decide when to visit the emergency room, you can use this infographic. If you have any cold or flu-like symptoms, including cough, sore throat, headache and/or fever, do not go to the hospital to visit patients.
You can do the following to help stay healthy this flu season:
- Wash your hands frequently;
- Cough and sneeze into the bed of your arm, not into your hand;
- Avoid touching your nose, mouth or eyes with your hands;
- Clean objects and surfaces that a lot of people touch, such as: doorknobs, phones and television remotes;
- Eat healthy foods and stay physically active to keep your immune system strong;
- Get plenty of rest or sleep; and
- Get you influenza vaccine.
If you do get sick, stay home and avoid contact with others until your symptoms are gone.
For more information about influenza vaccination, visit our Influenza Clinic page.
Infection Prevention and Control Lapse Disclosures
The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has directed all public health units to publicly disclose more detailed information on non-routine infection prevention and control (IPAC) lapse investigations where they are identified. An IPAC lapse is a departure from infection prevention and control standards. The result could be infectious disease transmission to patients or staff through exposure to blood or body fluids. An example would be medical equipment that is improperly cleaned and can spread infections from one patient to another. Information about IPAC investigations in HPEPH can be found on our Infection Prevention and Control Lapse reporting page.
Child Care Centres & Schools
Children in child care centres and schools are more prone to infection. A higher number of respiratory and enteric illnesses occur in these settings. To help prevent the spread of communicable diseases in child care centres and schools:
1. Have your children immunized.
2. Keep ill children home until they are well enough to participate in all activities.
3. Teach children good personal hygiene, including handwashing, not sharing personal items, and coughing or sneezing into a tissue or their elbow.
- Canadian Paediatric Society
- Day Nurseries Act for Child Care Supervisors of Ontario
- Guide to Common Childhood Infections
- List of Reportable Diseases in Ontario
Hygiene etiquette involves practices that prevent the spread of illness and disease. A critical time to practice good hygiene etiquette is when you are sick, especially when coughing or sneezing.
To help stop the spread of germs:
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or use your elbow when you cough or sneeze.
- Put your used tissue in a waste basket.
- If you don't have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve, not your hands.
- Wash your hands frequently with either soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol).
If you are ill, you should try to distance yourself from others so you do not spread your germs. Distancing includes staying home from work or school when possible.
Mandatory Blood Testing
Hastings Prince Edward Public Health is required to follow the Mandatory Blood Testing Act (2006) of Ontario.
The Act permits anyone that may have come into contact with blood or body fluids of another person, as a result of being a victim of crime, an emergency service worker, or Good Samaritan (emergency first aid provider), to have the blood of the other person tested. The sample is tested for HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C.
There are a number of requirements that have to be met before the Medical Officer of Health will accept the application and there are strict timelines that need to be followed.
For more information, call our Communicable Disease Intake Line at 613-966-5500 or 1-800-267-2803, ext. 349.
Safer Needle Use
Needle Exchange Sites
Needle Exchange sites are places where individuals can obtain new needles, sterile water, alcohol swabs, cookers, filters, ascorbic acid, and tourniquets, as well as sharps containers for safe disposal of used needles and cookers. These sharps containers can then be returned to any participating exchange site for safe disposal.
For more information, call 613-966-5500 or 1-800-267-2803, ext. 349.
- Hepatitis B Facts
- Hepatitis C Quick Facts
- What is HIV/AIDS?
- HIV/AIDS Regional Services
- Needle Exchange Program brochure
- Ontario Harm Reduction Distribution Program
Sexually Transmitted Infections
Hastings Prince Edward Public Health provides testing for sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Testing is easy and is free of charge.
STIs can pass from person to person by having sexual contact (genital skin to skin or oral, vaginal or anal sex), or blood contact. Some STIs can be effectively treated with medication, but the infection can return. Serious consequences can result when an STI is left untreated.
It is highly recommended that sexually active individuals are vaccinated against HPV, Hepatitis A, and Hepatitis B. It is also recommended that you use condoms with every act of sexual contact from beginning to end, and that you limit the number of people with whom you have sexual relations.
For more information on STI and pap testing, call the Sexual Health Intake Line at 613-966-5500 or 1-800-276-2803, ext. 243.
Tattoos, Piercings, Aesthetic Services
Personal services settings include any place that offers aesthetic services such as body piercing, tattooing, nail care, hair removal, and hairstyling. Hastings Prince Edward Public Health inspectors regularly visit personal services settings in our region to assess the potential for risk - to clients and workers - of acquiring infections during the delivery of these services. Our inspectors provide guidance on infection prevention and control according to the requirements and recommendations described in the Infection Prevention and Control Best Practices for Personal Services Settings (Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care).