Several confirmed flu cases in young children; flu shots now available

Huron Perth, ON - Huron Perth Public Health (HPPH) has received confirmation of several cases of influenza A (flu) in children under the age of five. This is a noteworthy development because influenza testing is very limited so HPPH does not typically see this number of lab-confirmed cases of influenza in children this young.

Influenza season has also started several weeks earlier than usual in Huron Perth. Flu season typically begins in late November.

“Even healthy children can become seriously ill with the flu,” says Dr. Miriam Klassen, Medical Officer of Health. “Our best defence against flu and its complications is influenza immunization (“the flu shot”). I encourage all residents aged six months and older to get their flu shot as soon as possible to protect themselves and their loved ones.” 

Children under five years old have a higher risk of complications, and even death, from the flu. This is because their immune systems are still developing, and their airways are small and more easily blocked. Children in schools and in child care are at risk for getting and spreading the flu, as they have close contact with one another during the day.

It is important to get the influenza vaccine annually because each year the vaccine is updated to provide protection against the strains likely to circulate during the flu season. Flu shots are available to everyone aged six months and older through:

  • Primary Care Providers (family doctor or nurse practitioner): for those ages 6 months and older. Contact your primary care provider’s office for information on how to get the vaccine.
  • Pharmacies: for those ages 2 and older. Contact your local pharmacy for more information.
  • Huron Perth Public Health clinics: for families with children 6 months to less than 2 years of age who do not have a family doctor or nurse practitioner. The Health Unit is offering two clinics in November:
    • Monday, November 14, 2022, 3-6 p.m. | HPPH Clinton site | 77722B London Road, Clinton
    • Monday, November 21, 2022, 3-6 p.m. | HPPH Stratford West Gore site | 653 West Gore Street, Stratford
    • An appointment is needed. To book an appointment, please call 1-888-221-2133 ext 3558.

Get a flu shot as soon as possible as it takes two weeks to take effect.

Please note that HPPH will not be offering community flu shot clinics for the general public, nor will the flu shot be available at HPPH COVID-19 vaccination clinics.

The influenza vaccine does not protect against other viruses, such as norovirus (the ‘stomach flu’), or COVID-19, but it does protect against severe illness from the influenza virus.

Symptoms of flu include fever, chills, cough, stuffy nose, and muscle aches. Testing for the virus is usually limited to the emergency department and hospital in-patients. If you think you have the flu, stay home until symptoms have improved.

Prevent the spread of flu

HPPH encourages residents to follow these tips to prevent getting and spreading the flu:

  • Stay home when sick.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer, especially after touching your face or high-touch surfaces.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or shirt sleeve, not your hands.
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys, doorknobs, light switches and cell phones, especially if someone is sick.
  • Wear a mask for 10 days after the start of respiratory illness symptoms.
    • HPPH strongly recommends wearing a mask in indoor settings if you are at higher risk of severe illness, or interact with elderly or immune compromised individuals.
  • Avoid visiting immunocompromised individuals or high-risk settings such as long-term care homes for 10 days after you are sick. This will reduce the chances of spreading illness to this vulnerable population.


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