Flu has officially arrived in Haldimand-Norfolk.

The Health Unit (HNHU) has reported the first confirmed cases of influenza for this season. The first was confirmed on Nov. 28, followed by the second on Nov. 29. 

“Sporadic influenza activity has been reported in other regions in Ontario. However, these are our first confirmed cases of influenza in Haldimand and Norfolk regions for this season,” said Dr. Shanker Nesathurai, acting medical officer of health for the HNHU.

Anyone can get the flu, but it is particularly dangerous for the elderly, for children and for those with compromised immune systems. Symptoms include cough, fever, body aches and extreme exhaustion. This can be accompanied by nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

The flu spreads from an infected person through coughing or sneezing. The virus can live on hard surfaces for several hours and can be spread from surfaces such as toys and door knobs that an infected person has touched recently.

The HNHU would like to remind everyone that the flu shot is the best protection against getting the influenza virus. Those seeking to get the flu shot should contact their family physician or visit a local pharmacy to arrange a free flu shot today.

In addition to the flu shot, other ways to reduce your risk include frequent hand washing, coughing or sneezing into your sleeve rather than your hand and staying home from work or school when you or your child are ill. 

It is especially important for those who are ill to avoid coming into contact with those in hospitals or long-term care facilities, as they are more likely to have weaker immune systems.

For more information about the influenza virus and the flu shot, visit hnhu.org.