Brampton - With both the H1N1 flu virus and seasonal influenza circulating in the community, flu season is going to be different this year says Peel's Medical Officer of Health, Dr. David Mowat, and "while we hope for the best, we are ready for worse."
The Region of Peel is in high gear with its H1N1 and seasonal flu planning to ensure that Peel residents have access to information and measures to prevent illness. "We have been carefully monitoring the progress of the H1N1 flu virus with the assistance of local schools, hospitals and family physicians," says Dr. David Mowat, Region of Peel's Medical Officer of Health. "What's different this year is that we are seeing younger people affected by this particular flu, unlike previous seasonal influenzas which typically affected infants and the elderly."
While the plans are aimed at managing any scenario, the information currently being gathered points towards a second wave in the fall, with a larger number of mostly mild cases.
Peel is also liaising with corporate partners and the health-care sector and participating in regional emergency planning and response activities. If physicians and hospitals are overwhelmed with an influx of flu patients, the Region will open flu assessment centres where people can go if they have flu-like symptoms. Health-care professionals at these centres will assess people and provide medication and advice.
Preparations are progressing for the distribution and administration of vaccine against the H1N1 flu virus. Details will be provided by the Region when they are available.
Other simple and effective protective measures that residents can take include:
·washing hands often with soap and warm water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer – especially after sneezing or coughing and after touching surfaces others may have touched;
·coughing and sneezing into an upper sleeve or tissue;
·cleaning surfaces at home or work regularly; and
·staying at home if experiencing flu-like symptoms.
For more information about the H1N1 flu virus, speak to your health-care provider or visit http://www.peelregion.ca/.