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City of Toronto reports active outbreaks of flu, Parainfluenza type 2, and Rhinovirus: yes, it’s already flu season; how to prepare

Toronto reports weekly on cold and flu outbreaks in healthcare institutes. For this week, today’s report (Sept 28, 2017), Toronto is reporting an “Outbreak” in hospitals, long-term care homes and retirement homes — all of whom have to report. The following institutes have outbreaks (currently active and spreading):

  • Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre (Parainfluenza type 2)

  • Cummer Lodge (Rhinovirus)

  • Seaton House (Streptococcus pyogenes)

  • Seven Oaks (Rhinovirus)

  • Bendale Acres (Rhinovirus)

  • Better Living at Thompson House (Rhinovirus)

  • The Wexford (Rhinovirus)

Flu outbreaks are already being reported at health institutions in Sept 2017 Ontario.

Schools having outbreaks

Schools and other urban settings do not report but are obviously ripe for the spread of flu and cold bugs — especially the younger grades, since children often don’t yet follow good public hygiene.  If you have children, be aware your odds of getting sick are higher. Observing good hygiene is the best defence.

 

The best preventative is washing all through the day. Dry hands? Still, wash — try hand cream.

 

Already, the incidence of flu and colds is increasing dramatically in and around Toronto. Flu season is upon us. Feel a stuffy nose and scratchy throat coming on? Prevention is the best.

Symptoms

Symptoms of the flu start 1-4 days after exposure. The flue is VERY dangerous for elderly, children and people with chronic illnesses.

 

Don’t spread the flu to your family. Wear masks around your children (make it a game!), wash regularly, and keep your family healthy.

 

The Ontario government lists these symptoms:

  • fever
  • chills
  • cough
  • runny eyes
  • stuffy nose
  • sore throat
  • headache
  • muscle aches
  • extreme weakness and tiredness
  • some people may have vomiting and diarrhoea, though this is more common in children than adults.

With a cold, you rarely have fever and aches and pains are milder. Risk of extra complications, such as pneumonia is lower.

 

Flu shots are still strongly recommended by Ontario healthcare if you’re healthy and not pregnant. Really, it doesn’t hurt!

 

If you get the Flu

The Ontario government makes these recommendations:

If infected, be sure to:

  • stay home and get plenty of rest
  • drink lots of fluids
  • avoid drinks with caffeine
  • take basic pain or fever relievers but do not give acetylsalicylic acid (ASA or Aspirin®) to children or teenagers under the age of 18
  • treat muscle pain using a hot water bottle or heating pad — apply heat for short periods of time
  • take a warm bath
  • gargle with a glass of warm salt water or suck on hard candy or lozenges
  • use spray or saline drops for a stuffy nose
  • avoid alcohol and tobacco

 

Ontario advises people who are high-risk or not getting better to see their doctor or nurse practitioner.

 

Call your doctor or nurse practitioner if:

  • you don’t start to feel better after a few days
  • your symptoms get worse
  • you are in a high-risk group and develop flu symptoms.

Note: Flu shots likely won’t be available until next month.

 

It may seem anti-social, but wearing a mask and keeping your distance when you are sick is the civilized thing to do.

 

Before the virus knocks you out…

First, and foremost, don’t share the bug. If you get sick, STAY HOME from work. Cover your mouth or nose when you cough or sneeze. Don’t be a selfish sicky.

Health professionals make these recommendations in flu season. The following recommendations are extrapolated from WebMD and other websites. [Condo.ca has no expertise in medicine, so always check with your healthcare providers!] Of course, make a sound

 

Lots of rest is needed for the flu.

 

Of course, make a sound judgement on whether to get a flu shot. It is especially recommended for the elderly and immune-depressed. It is also recommended for healthy, non-pregnant individuals (recent reports of issues with pregnant women). Here are seven tips on protecting your family:

  1. Wash, wash, then wash hands some more. Train the family in basic hygiene, especially the kids, encouraging them to wash hands throughout the day. Phones and toilet handles are the dirtiest and most virus-laden objects.
  2. Stock up: don’t wait until you are stick to check your medicine cabinet and your stock of tissues. You may need pain relievers, fever reducers and even possibly decongestants and cough syrups (depending on your health situation.) Be cautious of all of these if you have heart or other issues and remember that some “blended” cold remedies already have painkillers — so be careful not to overdose. Every year in the flu season, there is a rise in liver poisoning.
  3. Sanitation stations: many health experts suggest having multiple “sanitation stations” in all rooms of the home or condo and in your car, plus office workstation.
  4. Caregivers: if you’re unable to look after yourself when hit with the heavy flu, make sure you have a line on someone who can support you. Discuss with family/friends.
  5. Disinfect: regularly clean and disinfect doorknobs, faucet handles, the stove, your phone, car steering wheel, and all the public surfaces multiple people touch. Remember, a person is contagious before they show symptoms.
  6. Green on hold: during colds and flu bouts healthcare professionals recommend putting the green initiatives on hold and invest in paper tools, wipes and tissues — all disposable.
  7. Stock the kitchen: don’t let the fridge and cupboards go bare; you could get suddenly sick. Without good food, recovery is slower.

 

 

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