Get the facts
Influenza is serious, acute, respiratory illness that is caused by a virus. Symptoms may include sudden onset of fever, chills, cough, sore throat, headache, muscle aches, extreme weakness and fatigue. The cough and fatigue can persist for several weeks but usually illness lasts from two to seven days. Some will develop complications and require hospitalization. Every year the seasonal flu affects people in the Northern Hemisphere from October to April and in Southern Hemisphere from May to September and is responsible for up to 4,500 deaths in Canada. Annual vaccinations are available in the fall. The vaccine against ordinary influenza is 70 to 90 per cent effective.
Novel A H1N1 flu Is a new strain of swine and avian flu that emerged in Mexico in the spring of 2009 and had spread around the world so completely by June that the World Health Organization raised it’s status to Pandemic Level 6. Current world conditions are posted daily at: World H1N1 Information
H1N1 has been circulating in Canada since May/09 and in Niagara since June/09. A vaccine has been developed and is being tested, but it won’t be available to the public until November/09 and its efficacy is not yet known. Niagara data is posted Friday afternoons at: Niagara Region H1N1 Information
How is it spread?
Influenza is spread by respiratory droplets from infected persons through coughing, sneezing or talking. It is also spread through direct contact with surfaces contaminated by the virus, such as keyboards, eating utensils and unwashed hands.
How Does it Spread [.pdf]
What are the signs and symptoms?
Signs of influenza A(H1N1) are flu-like, including fever, cough, headache, muscle and joint pain, sore throat and runny nose, and sometimes vomiting and diarrhea.
Signs and Symptoms [.pdf]
What are some risk factors?
H1N1 is generally a mild influenza in the majority of the population however many individuals have been hospitalized and some have died. The severest impact seems to be on those with underlying respiratory health issues.
Risk Factors of H1N1 [.pdf]