The Chatham-Kent Public Health Unit has issued a notice about “widespread influenza activity” across the community. Meanwhile, the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance has reduced the restrictions at the Chatham Campus after a flu outbreak.

Flu impacting C-K

Public Health Unit official say Chatham-Kent is currently experiencing the widespread influenza activity which is throughout Ontario.

Public Health officials are issuing information about influenza, incuding: signs, symptoms, prevention and treatment.

“Influenza is often called the ‘flu’. It is a serious viral respiratory illness, which can result in complications such as pneumonia, sinus infections and ear infections,” Public Health Unit officials stated.

“In people with pre-existing cardio-respiratory disease and in the elderly, influenza can be deadly. Strokes and heart attacks are often preceded by influenza. Influenza spreads easily from person to person through close contact. Dry air increases our susceptibility at this time of year.”

Signs and Symptoms:

– Influenza usually starts very suddenly with chills, fever, dry cough and muscle aches.

– Headache, tiredness/weakness, sore throat, and runny nose may also occur, sometimes with diarrhea in young children.

What to do if you might have influenza:

– Stay home until you feel well.

– Cough into a tissue or your sleeve.

– Discard used tissues and wash your hands.

– Wash hands frequently using soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub.

– Do not share anything that goes in your mouth.

– Avoid visitors.

– See your health care provider if symptoms become worse.

Prevention and treatment:

– Yearly immunization against influenza is the best way to protect yourself and others from illness, and it is free. It is not too late to get your influenza vaccine.

– Frequent hand washing with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub is also important.

– An antiviral medication can also be prescribed by your health care provider to decrease the severity of your illness if it is caught early.

Public Health Unit officials say if you have any specific questions or need further information people can contact the Chatham-Kent Public Health Unit at 519-355-1071 ext. 5902.

Some restrictions lifted at CKHA

The Chatham-Kent Health Alliance (CKHA), in consultation with the Public Health Unit, has lifted the influenza A outbreak restrictions for patients on the Complex Continuing Care Unit (4th floor) as of Wednesday.

Hospital officials say at CKHA’s Chatham Campus, restrictions continue to be in place for Medicine Unit B for influenza A outbreak and Stroke/Rehab unit for respiratory outbreak – which were declared over the last week.

To assist in preventing further transmission, the hospital is asking anyone who is not feeling well, particularly with influenza-like symptoms to not visit patients at the hospital at this time.

CKHA officials say in addition, anyone visiting patients who may have influenza or respiratory illness will be required to wear a hospital-provided mask, eye protection, gown, and gloves.

Further, no children under 12 can visit the compromised units for their own safety and that of patients and staff.

Visitors are asked when entering and exiting the hospital to use the main entrance only.

The Emergency Department entrance is designated only for those seeking emergency services.

Visitors will be asked to wash their hands upon entrance and exit at each of the patient/visitor entrances, hospital officials say.

All hospital services are offered as usual in other areas of the hospital.

CKHA’s Emergency Departments will continue to screen patients for influenza-like symptoms upon arrival.

Out-Patient Clinics and elective services also remain functional.

CKHA officials say for those who develop influenza-like symptoms, they are infectious 1-3 days before symptoms start, and remain infectious until 5 days after the onset of symptoms.

Hospital staff say this situation is being reassessed on a daily basis.