Flu spikes in Thunder Bay
If you think there have been more flu cases in Thunder Bay this year than previous years, you are not alone.
The Thunder Bay District Health Unit is reporting more flu cases this year than the last three years. This season has seen six outbreaks of inflenza A at city long-term care facilities. Darlene Binette, the health unit's manager of the infectious diseases department, added this season started very early as well.
“It’s been quite significant, with the first case being reported in early October,” she said in an interview Monday. “We normally don’t see flu cases until December or January.”
She added not all flu cases are reported by people or their doctors. Many healthy adults will report flu-like symptoms, like coughing, nausea, body aches and fever, but won’t get tested and treat the illness on their own.
Binette said the health unit had predicted a heavier-than-normal flu season after monitoring the southern hemisphere during its winter, and Australia experienced a strong flu season. Even then, she said, it’s difficult to predict exactly how hard a flu virus will hit a population.
It’s not too late to be immunized. Binette said the health unit is administering flu shots by appointment. Doctors’ offices and some pharmacies also offer the flu shot. People can take other precautions like covering coughs and washing hands frequently to prevent the spread of viruses.
“It takes 10 to 14 days to take effect, but it’s protection from the virus for up to six months,” she said. “The flu season normally runs from November to April.”