More flu than normal so far this year says local health unit
The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is reporting a higher than normal number of local young children and infants with the flu.
Health officials said the type of flu virus confirmed in the area (influenza A, H1N1) is more likely to affect children, and added infants are most at risk.
The health unit is asking parents, schools, health care providers, and community agencies to encourage all pregnant women and children over the age of six months to get the flu shot to control the illness this season. Officials said getting the flu vaccine during pregnancy protects both the mother and the infant for the first six months of life.
“The flu vaccine is considered safe and recommended for all pregnant women at all stages of pregnancy and mothers who are breastfeeding,” said Acting Medical Officer of Health Dr. Wajid Ahmed.
Vulnerable groups include children, pregnant women, and the elderly. The flu can lead to pneumonia, fever-related seizures, inflammation of the brain, and/or ear infections in infants and young children. It is estimated that an average of 12,200 hospitalizations and 3,500 deaths in Canada every year are attributed to influenza.
The flu vaccine is available from your health care provider, walk-in clinics, and participating pharmacies for those over five years of age.
The health unit is also reminding people who are sick that they should stay home from school or work.