This year’s severe flu season has prompted Peterborough Public Health to remind local residents to prevent spreading the flu—especially those who engage with seniors.
“With a three-fold increase in influenza outbreaks in local long-term care facilities this season, we urge local residents to use all methods possible to protect our most vulnerable from catching the flu virus,” says Dr. Rosana Salvaterra, Medical Officer of Health. “Most of the precautions people can take are very straightforward, such as washing your hands often, staying home if sick, and not visiting elderly friends and family if you are feeling unwell.”
Dr. Salvaterra noted that this year’s flu season started earlier and is lasting far longer than last year. As of April 9th, there have been 22 influenza outbreaks in local long-term care facilities, compared to only seven last year. This does not include outbreaks of other viruses in facilities, such as norovirus or Human Metapneumovirus.
A total of 50,770 doses of flu vaccine have been distributed this season throughout the community through local pharmacies and health care providers.
“Anyone at high risk for complications from influenza should see their primary care provider as soon as possible if symptomatic with flu-like illness as antivirals can help reduce the risk of hospitalization,” adds Dr. Salvaterra, suggesting that antivirals must be started within the first 24-48 hours of illness in order to work best.
“This has been an unusually severe flu season, with both A and B influenza strains circulating at the same time. Typically the A strain peaks first, followed by the B strain. To have both surge together this late into April is definitely outside the ordinary and has placed a real strained local health care resources.”
For more information, visit Peterborough Public Health's website here.