If you've been feeling a little under the weather so far this winter you've got lots of company.
The Eastern Ontario Health Unit confirms influenza has much of eastern Ontario in its icy grip, bringing with it plenty of sneezes, coughs and heaches.
Schools, retirement homes and long-term care facilities have been hit especially hard, health unit officials say.
“The flu season started early this year with cases reported since November,” said medical officer of health Paul Roumeliotis. “The circulating strain is influenza A, H3N2, and illness could be more severe."
The Centers for Disease Copntrol in the United States said last month this particular flu strain is running ampant in that country, with "high" numbers of cases in most all of the south-eastern and northeastern states.
Roumeliostis said those who have yet to get a flu shot should do so - even though we are deep into the midst of flu season.
Roumeliotis said this year’s flu shot is a good match against influenza A, H3N2.
The flu is not a simple cold, and while most people who come down with it will suffer from mild symptoms that do not require medical attention, the flu can be dangerous and even deadly.
The flu shot is available through physicians, some local pharmacies or by appointment at one of the Eastern Ontario Health Unit’s offices.
Besides getting immunized, one of the best ways to reduce the spread of the virus and to protect vulnerable members of the public is to stay home when sick. Do not visit relatives in residences, long-term care facilities and hospitals if you are sick.
For more information about the flu and how to prevent it from spreading, visit the EOHU’s website at www.eohu.ca.