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News Release

Influenza activity high in Simcoe Muskoka

Dec 18, 2012
Doctors and health care facilities are seeing increasing numbers of patients with flu-like symptoms in Simcoe and Muskoka.

Doctors and health care facilities are seeing increasing numbers of patients with flu-like symptoms in Simcoe and Muskoka.

As of Tuesday, December 18, five institutions in the area were also dealing with outbreaks of influenza.

The steady rise in diagnosed cases in the last two weeks shows that Simcoe and Muskoka are following the trend for an early flu season seen across Ontario this fall. Locally, the case load can be expected to continue to rise, says Simcoe Muskoka associate medical officer of health Dr. Colin Lee.

“This is the first wave of influenza activity this winter,” Dr. Lee said. “We expect to see the incidence peak in one to two weeks, which unfortunately brings us into the busy holiday season.”

Lee cautioned that the current circulating strain of flu in Ontario right now is one that has tended to be associated with more severe flu seasons over the last decade. Fortunately, the strain – an H3 type of influenza A – is covered by and matches well to this year’s flu vaccine.

It’s not too late for people to get their flu shots. The health unit holds sufficient supply of vaccines to provide to doctors, family health teams and pharmacies that have trained staff able to give the flu shot. A list of local pharmacies offering the vaccine can be found on the health unit’s website.

The vaccine will have benefits that last beyond this particular wave, Dr. Lee added, since it’s not uncommon for flu seasons to see a wave of influenza B crop up in the late winter or early spring.

The health unit also stresses the need for other personal protection habits, such as frequent handwashing, getting adequate sleep, sticking to healthy foods and staying active. 

Those who feel they are ill should stay home, get lots of rest, drink plenty of fluids, cover up coughs or sneezes with their sleeve or tissues, continue with frequent handwashing and avoid contact with other people.

“It’s a very unpleasant illness, but most people do not need medical attention while they are fighting the flu,” Dr. Lee said. “It’s important for people to understand this as we approach the holidays, when hospital emergency departments are already dealing with high levels of traffic.”

There is an online tool to help you decide whether you or a family member has the flu, and whether to stay home to recover or seek medical attention. It’s located at The Flu Assessment Tool is linked from the left side of the page and was created by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. People can also call the ministry’s Telehealth line at 1-866-797-0000 for one-to-one advice from a registered nurse.

As an alternative to hospitals, there are walk-in medical clinics in most communities in Simcoe and Muskoka. Family health team offices may also hold after-hours clinics. They can be located using the search tool at, or by calling 211.

For more information about the flu shot, visit the health unit’s website at, or call Your Health Connection at 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520 weekdays from 8:30 am. to 4:30 p.m.








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