WHITEHORSE—Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley today announced that Yukon has its first two lab-confirmed cases of influenza and he is predicting that it’s only the beginning.
“Typically, flu doesn’t peak in Yukon until late February or early March so it’s safe to assume that this is just the tip of the iceberg,” Hanley said. “While we only have two lab-confirmed cases of H3N2, for each of them we likely have several more that will go without being diagnosed.”
Anyone who has not received the vaccine is encouraged to do so, particularly those over 65 years of age, those under the age of five years, as well as those who are pregnant or who have underlying health conditions. The free vaccine is available by contacting local health centres in rural Yukon or the Whitehorse Health Centre. This year’s vaccine protects against three strains of influenza, including H3N2 and H1N1.
In otherwise healthy individuals, influenza is generally a mild to moderate illness. However, severe illness, complications and worsening of underlying health conditions can occur, especially among risk groups. Flu symptoms include rapid onset of fever, cough, sore throat, and aches and pains. Rest and symptomatic treatment is usually all that is required.
Hanley reminds Yukon residents of the lessons learned last year in the wake of H1N1—cough into your sleeve, wash your hands often and stay home if you are sick.
For more information, call your health centre, 811 or visit www.hss.gov.yk.ca/immunization_info.php.