Londoners urged to get flu shot following first death of the season

The Middlesex London Health unit is urging Londoners to get their flu shot following the first death of the season.

According to a report released by the health unit Wednesday, there were 22 laboratory-confirmed cases of Influenza A between Jan. 6 and Jan. 12. Of those, eight were hospitalized and one death was reported.

“We are seeing more influenza activity this week (January 13-19) than we were seeing last week,” said Dr. Alex Summers, associate medical officer of health. “This is anticipated around this time of year.”

“Influenza season peaks at different times every year and we know that up until this point we’ve had a relatively low influenza season, but we are seeing increasing activity.”

It’s important to get the flu shot not only to protect yourself, but to stop the spread of sickness to those most vulnerable, Summers said.

“We know that the H3N2 strain can be particularly harmful for those who are a bit older, whereas the H1N1 strain can cause those who are a bit younger to be more sick, but both groups can be affected by any strain of influenza.” he said.

“That’s why vaccinating yourself, making sure you’re washing your hands properly and staying at home if you’re sick, is so critical,” Summers said.

Those who have yet to get the shot are encouraged to do so as soon as possible because it takes about two weeks for the vaccine to provide optimal protection against the flu, the report said.

On top of washing your hands and staying home if you’re sick, Summers said to cover coughs and sneezes, and clean and disinfect any high-touch surfaces.

It total, there have been 76 laboratory-confirmed cases of the flu so far this season, the report said.

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