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Flu Season Begins in SWPH Region

Southwestern Public Health is reporting seven lab-confirmed cases of influenza A.

OXFORD/ELGIN/MIDDLESEX - Flu season has arrived in the Southwestern Public Health Region.

The health unit is reporting its first lab-confirmed cases of influenza A for 2023/2024. Seven people have tested positive. One of them lives in a long-term care home while the others live out in the community.

Medical Officer of Health Dr. Ninh Tran says this is proof that the flu is circulating in the region and he is encouraging everyone to get the flu shot.

"The influenza vaccine is widely available. Now is the time to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your community from this respiratory virus by adding a flu shot to your regular habits of handwashing, staying home when unwell, and covering your coughs and sneezes."

Anyone over the age of 6 months old will be able to get the shot with the latest COVID-19 booster if they book an appointment at the health unit's Woodstock or St. Thomas office. Select pharmacies also offer both shots, but they are unable to vaccinate children under two years old.

Influenza and pneumonia are included in Health Canada's top 10 leading causes of death in the country, 2,200 hospitalizations, and 3,500 flu-related deaths each year.

Common flu symptoms include fever, chills, cough, runny or stuffy nose, sore throat, headache, muscle or body aches, weakness, and fatigue.

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