Flu season is taking its toll on Peterborough and the health unit has tips to stop the spread locally.

According to a report by Global News, the Peterborough Regional Health Centre has seen an increase in influenza cases coming through their facility.

Marianne Rock, the Manager of the Health Protection Division of the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge Health Unit, says in the health unit’s district there have been 20 lab-confirmed cases which she says is less than last year but preventing the spread of the virus is just as important.

Rock tells My Haliburton Now.com the health unit always sees an increase in flu cases after the holidays, saying “we always see this happen over Christmas time, everyone gets together, shares their germs, their love for each other and everyone gets the flu.”

“One thing I want everyone to be aware of, is the flu vaccine is still available,” says Rock who goes on to say that it is not too late to get it. Rock explains that the flu shot is the first defence against the influenza virus. She says “it’s just like wearing a seatbelt, vaccination is your best protection, your best option.”

According to Rock, the flu is spread through droplets, and that is why coughing and sneezing into your sleeve or tissue are important. She says if you can, keep an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with you and use it when out and about. Rock points out that because the flu and common cold are both spread by droplets, you could potentially catch them from a shopping cart. She explains that a sick person could cough or sneeze into their hand then put that hand on the cart, which could transfer from the cart to your hand and up to your face.

Aside from using hand sanitizer, Rock emphasizes the importance of good hand hygiene, which means washing your hands often and properly.

Rock says that anyone on the fence about getting the flu shot should talk to a doctor about the vaccine, as well she says talk to people that you trust or talk with the health unit to get the information you need to help make that decision.

HKPR’s flu vaccine page can be found by clicking here.