Yukon is seeing increasing numbers of influenza, with 75 cases confirmed in Yukon so far this flu season. In the last five weeks alone, 43 cases of influenza have been confirmed. In addition to the increase in influenza activity, there is also an increase in respiratory illness caused by other viruses.
Yukoners are encouraged to receive their immunization against the seasonal flu, especially those with chronic medical conditions, as well as those over 65, pregnant women, and young children. The vaccine is free and available to everyone over the age of six months through local health centres in the communities and the Whitehorse Health centre.
For more information on flu clinic location and times: https://yukonimmunization.ca/diseases-vaccines/influenza.
If you think you have influenza and you are at high risk of severe influenza, seek early care from your health care provider. Seek medical care if you become very sick or are worried about your illness.
Influenza hit early, then waned and we are now seeing a second wave, with an increase in the number of confirmed cases in the past five weeks. The most effective way for Yukoners to protect themselves is to receive their seasonal influenza immunization. The vast majority of the cases of confirmed influenza in the territory are in those individuals who have not received their immunization.
Yukon’s Acting Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Catherine Elliott
The following everyday practices help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including influenza:
- wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds;
- use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available;
- avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands;
- avoid close contact with people who are sick;
- clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are touched a lot;
- cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue immediately into the trash; or
- cover your mouth and nose with your inner elbow when you cough or sneeze; and,
- stay home when you are sick to avoid spreading the virus to others.
Influenza can cause serious illness and hospitalization among those with chronic conditions.
Symptoms of influenza include rapid onset of high fever, cough, sore throat, aches, pains and chills.
Rest and treatment of symptoms are usually all that is needed. People who suspect they have the flu should avoid spreading it by staying home until they feel better.
People with severe symptoms, or who get the flu on top of underlying health conditions, should get medical advice by either calling the Yukon HealthLine at 811 or consulting with their health care provider.
The vaccine is safe and it takes about two weeks for the influenza vaccine to become effective.