Someone in Bruce County has tested positive for the flu, a sign the annual respiratory bug has come early this year, the Grey Bruce Health Unit announced Thursday.
Influenza A was lab-confirmed Sept. 20. In years immediately before COVID-19 in Grey-Bruce, it was confirmed by a lab on Nov. 18, 2018 and on Nov. 20, 2019.
Influenza A is a highly contagious virus which circulates in Ontario every fall and winter and is one which people should get vaccinated against, a health unit doctor said.
“We strongly urge everyone in Grey-Bruce who is eligible to get the annual flu shot as soon as possible once it becomes available this fall,” physician consultant Dr. Rim Zayed said in the release. “The flu vaccine is the single most effective way to prevent illness and complications from influenza.”
The National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommends everyone aged six months and older without contraindications to the vaccine should receive the flu shot each year.
People at higher risk of developing influenza-related complications or being hospitalized included anyone 65 years and older, kids aged six months to 59 months, and long-term care and chronic-care facility residents.
Adults and children with chronic health conditions, Indigenous people and pregnant people are also at higher risk of complications or hospitalization due to the flu.
Anyone older than five years can get the influenza and COVID-19 vaccines in a single appointment, as there is no required time interval between doses, the health unit release said.
Like with COVID-19, stay home if feeling unwell with the flu, wash hands frequently, sanitize commonly used surfaces frequently, cough and sneeze into your sleeve or tissue, and wash your hands afterward to avoid transmitting the virus to others.
Meanwhile, the health unit said the seasonal flu is from different virus strains than the avian flu discovered in a small flock of birds in Harrison Park in Owen Sound.
“Avian flu does not spread easily from infected birds to humans and an avian flu outbreak doesn’t mean there will be a human outbreak,” the health unit release said.