The first seasonal case of Influenza A has been confirmed in the Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington (KFL&A) region.
KFL&A Public Health has received laboratory confirmation of the first case of the 2023-2024 season and is reminding residents in the community to get immunized this fall to help prevent Influenza A from spreading throughout the region.
According to a release from Public Health on Thursday, Sept. 7, 2023, the risk of influenza transmission follows the pattern of disease activity in the community, which is currently low. Influenza activity typically increases over the fall months and peaks towards the winter holiday season.
“Influenza vaccine is anticipated to arrive in October, with initial availability for those at high risk. The sooner a person gets immunized against influenza, the sooner they, and the vulnerable individuals around them, are protected from this potentially serious illness,” said Dr. Piotr Oglaza, Medical Officer of Health at KFL&A Public Health. “The southern hemisphere, particularly Australia, has had fewer influenza cases this year compared to last year. Unfortunately, they have had increased severity in children under the age of 15, particularly in children aged five to nine.”
Public Health strongly recommends that all KFL&A residents, regardless of age or health status, prioritize getting their flu shot when available this fall, adding that Influenza can result in severe outcomes and pose serious health risks to anyone, especially to those who have underlying medical conditions, those over 65 years of age, and young children.
Alongside immunization, individuals should practice hand hygiene, coughing and sneezing into their elbow, and regular disinfection of high-touch surfaces to help prevent transmission, the health agency advised.
Symptomatic individuals should stay home when they feel unwell. Public Health noted that Influenza symptoms include:
- fever (greater than 38.0C/100.4F),
- cough or chills,
- headache or muscle aches,
- loss of appetite,
- nausea or vomiting (mainly exhibited in young children),
- sore throat,
- runny nose.
According to the release, individuals with influenza may remain infectious for several days after symptom onset and should consider wearing a mask when recovering from any respiratory illness.
This fall the KFL&A region will have several options to get a flu shot, Public Health shared. Flu shots will be available through:
- Health care providers (for patients aged six months and older).
- Local pharmacies (for patients aged two years and older).
- KFL&A Public Health clinics (for residents with children under two years of age and those over 65 years).
For more information on respiratory illness prevention please visit kflaph.ca/RespiratoryInfections.