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Influenza cases reported in Quinte region

Influenza has arrived in the Quinte region, with four confirmed cases being reported at a Belleville area retirement home and four patients admitted to hospital.

Hastings Prince Edward Public Health advises residents of all ages to take precautions to reduce the spread of Influenza, which typically peaks during the holiday season. Influenza is spread by coughing and sneezing small droplets. The influenza virus is able to live on hard surfaces for up to 48 hours.

Individuals are encouraged to take the following steps to reduce the spread of Influenza:

Get the flu shot. It takes two weeks for the Influenza vaccine to take effect. It is available at public health offices, pharmacies and through primary health care providers.

Clean frequently touched surfaces such as doorknobs, phones and television remotes.

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.

Hastings Prince Edward Public Health (HPEPH) and Quinte Health Care are advising the public to stay home if they do develop mild symptoms of Influenza.

Common Influenza symptoms include fever, cough, muscle aches and pain, chills, fatigue (tiredness), loss of appetite, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose.

The Emergency Departments at QHC hospitals typically experience an increase in visits and longer wait times over the holiday season as a result of patients seeking health care for flu-like symptoms.

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, patients experiencing mild flu-like symptoms stay home, rest and drink plenty of fluids.

Patients with moderate symptoms may wish to contact their primary care provider (family physician, nurse practitioner or walk-in clinic. A schedule of walk-in clinic hours during the holiday season will be available at www.qhc.on.ca.)

Most people recover from the flu in seven to 10 days. In order to prevent spreading Influenza, avoid close contact with other people until your symptoms subside.

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