Windsor Regional Hospital prepping for early flu season

Photo courtesy of © Can Stock Photo / Hofmeester.

You can thank the people down under for the potential early arrival of flu season in Windsor-Essex.

BlackburnNewsWindsor.com was first to report last month on the likelihood of an early flu season in Windsor-Essex, based on what is happening in Australia. Windsor Regional Hospital CEO David Musyj said at the time it’s never too early to start taking the flu seriously.

“We get used to this warm weather, and we don’t think about it, and we don’t talk about it, then before you know it, it’s on us,” said Musyj. “Especially with school back and we’re all excited about that, but if we follow the Australian model, it’s going to happen a lot earlier.”

At its meeting Thursday night, the WRH board of directors heard a report from Musyj indicating that the hospital is prepping for an early, but intense influenza season. Australia, whose seasons are opposite from those in Canada, saw a significant increase in flu-related hospitalizations during their autumn, though they would taper off as the winter wore on.

Karen Riddell, the hospital’s vice-president for critical care, said Thursday that this strain of the flu would undoubtedly hit the more susceptible in the population.

“We do know that it’s a type of flu that does impact the young and the very old,” said Riddell, adding that complications may be possible with the strain.

Another thing the hospital is watching for is the potential gap between the onset of flu season and the arrival of the vaccine. Riddell said the flu’s early arrival might complicate matters.

“We’re not expecting the flu vaccine to come till the end of this month,” said Riddell. “So, we want to make sure that we’re getting the flu vaccine as soon as it’s available.”

In the meantime, people are asked to use the same tried and true methods of germ prevention, to reduce the risk of getting sick in the first place. This includes frequent handwashing, especially before eating and after using the washroom.