As temperatures dip, leaves change and students return, the stage is set for the fall influenza season.
On Thursday, Kingston Frontenac Lennox and Addington Public Health announced that it has confirmed the first case of Influenza A in the region.
It comes after two years of battling influenza season in conjunction with COVID-19 and RSV, the triple threat as Dr. Piotr Oglaza says.
“It serves as a reminder that there’s more than just one pathogen, more than COVID, that we need to be mindful of all of the other circulating pathogens and take appropriate steps,” said KFL&A Public Health’s Medical Officer of Health.
This comes on the heels of a slight spike of COVID-19 in wastewater surveillance data, collected by Public Health, that showed late August, when many students were returning.
Despite this, Dr. Oglaza says it’s no reason to panic.
“As far as the severity of the season, it’s too early to say, but what’s important is that anyone takes the necessary steps to protect themselves,” added Oglaza.
Dr. Oglaza says simple things like staying home when you’re sick, good hand hygiene and general cleanliness are all good tools, as well as a flu shot.
On the streets of Kingston, it seems many will be partaking.
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“Yes, absolutely. I was hoping they would combine the Covid and flu shots so I could just be lazy and go once,” said Rik Bradshaw a Kingston resident
“I will probably still get my flu shot,” said Jill Hamilton, also a Kingston resident.
“I’ll get my flu shot and my COVID shot,” added Shirley Houlden who was visiting from Frankford.
Common symptoms of influenza A include fever, cough, chills, head or muscle aches, sore throat, runny nose and nausea or vomiting.
Oglaza says flu vaccines are expected to arrive in the area in October, at which point they’ll be available to anyone eligible.
He also says the health unit will soon be rolling out a new and improved dashboard for influenza season, which will track more than just COVID-19 data.