News release

Province Sees Flu Activity Begin To Rise

With more cases of seasonal flu confirmed, Nova Scotians are encouraged to get immunized and take preventative action to avoid getting sick with the flu.

Dr. Maureen Baikie, Nova Scotia's deputy chief medical officer of health, says while flu is not widespread in the province, health officials are starting to see people getting sick with seasonal flu, both H3N2 and H1N1.

"We've been seeing flu activity for about a month and while we don't have a lot of influenza activity, some people are getting quite ill," said Dr. Baikie. "It's important that Nova Scotians take preventative measures to reduce the spread of illness, and most importantly, that they get immunized. This year's vaccine protects against both H3N2 and H1N1."

Since the beginning of the 2010-11 flu season, which runs from September 2010 to September 2011, the province has had 19 lab confirmed-cases of H3N2 and H1N1, including some hospitalizations.

Certain areas of the province are seeing more flu activity including, the Capital District, Guysborough Antigonish Strait and Cape Breton District health authorities.

As the flu season continues, there will be more cases of influenza across the province.

"What we're seeing in Nova Scotia is similar to what's happening in other jurisdictions," said Dr. Baikie. "It's important to note that it's never too late to get your flu shot and protect yourself and your family from getting the flu. And this year's vaccine is a good match for the flu strains that are circulating."

Nova Scotians who want to get immunized should call their doctor or local public health office. In the meantime, the best way to stay healthy is to take preventative action. That means washing hands thoroughly and often, coughing or sneezing into sleeves, and frequently cleaning and disinfecting common surfaces and items such as doorknobs and counters.

People with flu-like symptoms should stay home and minimize contact with family members as much as possible. If symptoms worsen, they should visit their physician or a walk-in clinic.

The province publishes a report on respiratory illnesses, including seasonal flu and H1N1, every Wednesday. It can be found at: www.gov.ns.ca/hpp/cdpc/respiratory-watch.asp .

FOR BROADCAST USE:

Deputy Chief Medical of Office of Health Maureen Baikie is reminding Nova Scotians to get their flu shots.

Dr. Baikie says as the province enters the height of flu season, we can expect flu activity to increase.

While there have only been 19 lab-confirmed seasonal flu cases in Nova Scotia so far this flu season, some people are becoming seriously ill.

The flu shot is free and is a safe, effective method of prevention.

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Media Contact:

Carla Grant
Health and Wellness 902-478-1683 E-mail: