Brantford, ON – The Brant County Health Unit (BCHU) has received a significant number of positive lab results related to influenza (flu) up to this point in the 2022/23 flu season.
Between October 3 and November 6, BCHU received notification of 50 lab confirmed flu cases in Brant residents. By comparison, during the same period of the 2019/20 flu season, there were no confirmed flu cases in Brant residents. The 2019/20 flu season was the most recent where masks or face coverings were not widely in use.
Influenza is a virus that affects the lungs and can cause serious illness, especially in young children and the elderly. It is not the common cold. The flu is easily spread through the air by coughing, sneezing and/or talking, or by touching contaminated surfaces/objects (phones, doorknobs, tablets, etc.).
“The flu shot is safe and the best protection against the flu,” said Dr. Rebecca Comley, Acting Medical Officer of Health at BCHU. “I would encourage all those over six months-of-age to receive their flu shot as soon as possible. As the Province forecasts this flu season to continue to be difficult, the flu shot is especially recommended for residents considered to part of at-risk groups.”
Individuals at high risk of flu-related complications or who are more likely to require hospitalization include:
- All pregnant individuals
- People who are residents of nursing homes or other chronic care facilities
- People ≥ 65 years of age
- All children six months to four years-of-age
- Indigenous peoples
- Adults or children six months-of-age and over with the following chronic health conditions:
- Cardiac or pulmonary disorders
- Diabetes mellitus or other metabolic disease
- Conditions or medication which compromise the immune system
- Renal disease
- Anemia or hemoglobinopathy
- Neurologic or neurodevelopment conditions
- Morbid obesity (body mass index of ≥40)
- Children and adolescents (6 months to 18 years) undergoing treatment with acetylsalicylic acid for long periods
The flu shot is now available through local pharmacies or health care providers. BCHU will also be holding flu clinics on select dates throughout November. Appointments are available through the BCHU website.
Anyone experiencing symptoms of respiratory illness should:
- Stay at home until you do not have a fever and your symptoms have been improving for at least 24 hours (or 48 hours if you had nausea, vomiting or diarrhea)
- Wear a well-fitted mask in public spaces
- Do not visit persons in hospitals, retirement/long-term care homes, or persons who may be at higher risk of illness (e.g., seniors and immunocompromised persons)
- Seek medical attention for severe or worsening symptoms, or if in a high-risk group