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Holidays are ‘peak’ time for flu season; ERs busy

According to Hastings and Prince Edward Public Health, seasonal influenza, “the flu”, has arrived with lab confirmed cases of Influenza A in local long-term care homes, as well as within the community. As usual, peak activity is expected over the holiday season.

Similar activity is being seen across the province and there are also several other respiratory viruses circulating this time of year with Rhinovirus being the most common, non-influenza virus right now.

The number of patients being seen in the emergency departments at Quinte Health Care hospitals is on the rise and is expected to continue to increase over the next few weeks.

“This is a result of patients seeking health care for flu-like symptoms and means an increased demand on health care resources and longer wait times,” said Carly Baxter, Communications Consultant with QHC. “While patients with severe flu symptoms, such as difficulty breathing or shortness of breath (when doing very little or resting), should go to the emergency room, we ask that patients with mild symptoms stay home and rest.”

She advises patients with moderate symptoms to contact their primary care provider (family physician, nurse practitioner or walk-in clinic).

“We ask that individuals not come to the hospital to visit patients if they have any cold or flu-like symptoms including cough, sore throat, headache and/or fever. And please limit the number of people accompanying patients to the hospital.”

Hastings Prince Edward Public Health offers these tips to fight flu season:
• Wash your hands frequently
• Cough and sneeze into the bend of your arm, not into your hand
• Avoid touching your nose, mouth or eyes with your hands
• Clean objects and surfaces that a lot of people touch, such as: doorknobs, phones and television remotes
• Eat healthy foods and stay physically active to keep your immune system strong
• Get plenty of rest or sleep
• Get your influenza vaccine

If you do get sick, stay home and avoid contact with other people until your symptoms are gone. Influenza vaccine is available at public health offices, pharmacies and health care providers. The best time to receive the influenza vaccine is in October, November and December before the peak of influenza season, as it can take two weeks to become effective.

Filed Under: Local News

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