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Influenza Season has Begun – Protect Yourself and Others

senior man with flu blowing nose

Hastings and Prince Edward Counties/November 28, 2019 – Influenza has officially arrived in the Quinte region, with Quinte Health Care (QHC) reporting the first case of influenza.

You can help reduce the spread of influenza, which typically peaks during the holiday season. Influenza is spread by coughing and sneezing microscopic droplets. The influenza virus can live on hard surfaces for up to 48 hours. Protect yourself and those around you with the following steps:

  • Get the flu shot as soon as possible*
  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Clean frequently touched surfaces such as doorknobs, phones, and TV remotes
  • Cough and sneeze into the bend of your arm, not into your hands
  • Avoid touching your nose, mouth or eyes with hands

Hastings Prince Edward Public Health (HPEPH) and QHC are advising the public to stay home from work or school if they develop mild symptoms of influenza. Common symptoms include fever, cough, muscle aches and pain, chills, fatigue (tiredness), loss of appetite, sore throat, and runny or stuffy nose. To reduce the spread of illness, avoid close contact with other people until symptoms subside.

Most people recover from the flu in 7 to 10 days with rest and plenty of fluids. In most healthy people, influenza is not an emergency. However, the Emergency Departments (ED) at QHC hospitals typically experience an increase in visits and longer ED wait times over the holiday season as a result of patients seeking care for flu-like symptoms. Patients with moderate symptoms or whose symptoms are not improving should contact a primary care provider (family physician, nurse practitioner or walk-in clinic). A schedule of walk-in clinic hours during the holiday season will be available at www.qhc.on.ca.

The very young, elderly, pregnant women, and patients with other high risk medical conditions, or patients with severe flu symptoms, including difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, should go to the ED. QHC has prepared an infographic to help you decide if a visit to the ED is necessary. Please limit the number of people accompanying patients to the hospital.

*While the flu shot is your best defense against the flu, it takes up to two weeks to provide optimal protection.  Get the shot through your health care provider, Public Health, or at a participating pharmacy.

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Media Contact:

Emily Tubbs, Communications Specialist
613-966-5500 x 464 or 613-848-2398
etubbs@hpeph.ca

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COVID-19 VACCINES IN HPEPH

Appointments for individuals 5+ can be booked through the provincial vaccine booking site, or by calling 1-833-943-3900 from 8 am to 8 pm, 7 days a week.  

Due to limited supply, HPEPH will initially be prioritizing available bivalent vaccine for residents and workers at identified highest-risk facilities.  Some HPEPH vaccination clinics MAY offer the bivalent vaccine, as availability allows. Vaccine clinics in Hastings and Prince Edward Counties will continue to offer monovalent vaccines (the same mRNA vaccines given as the primary series) for all eligible individuals until a steady supply of the bivalent vaccine is available.

Visit the HPEPH vaccine booking web page for details.

COVID-19 PROTOCOLS

Symptoms or exposure? Visit www.ontario.ca/exposed for the most up to date information about what to do.

For the most up to date information on current provincial restrictions, visit https://covid-19.ontario.ca/public-health-measures.

The Ministry of Health has launched a new toll-free line as an additional resource to help answer questions from the public regarding evolving COVID-19 testing and isolation guidance. The line can be reached at 1-888-777-0730, and is available from 8 am to 6 pm, 7 days a week.