The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit in Windsor, Ont., on Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020. (Chris Campbell / CTV Windsor)

The Windsor Essex County Health Unit has reported this season's first confirmed case of the flu in the region.

The health says the case of Influenza A is an individual in a long-term care home. The facility has been placed in an influenza outbreak and is currently implementing all the necessary precautions.

According to WEHCU, last flu season there were a total of 179 lab-confirmed cases with the first being reported Dec. 9, 2019.

“The WECHU is reminding everyone to get your flu shot,” a news release from the health unit says. “The best way to protect against the influenza virus and lower your risk of flu is to get the flu vaccine.”

The flu vaccine is free for people who live, work or study in Ontario. Residents can get their flu shot from their health care provider or at participating pharmacies in the region.

The health unit says the flu is a virus that causes an infection of the nose, throat and lungs and is easily spread through the air when an infected person talks, coughs or sneezes.

The virus can also live on surfaces for several hours which can be spread when touching your nose or eyes after touching a contaminated surface. Symptoms typically symptoms show.

WECHU says symptoms of the flu and COVID-19 can be similar and include: fever, cough, difficulty breathing, fatigue, sore throat, runny/stuffy nose, headaches, and muscle pain/body aches.

Based on symptoms alone it can be difficult to tell the difference and in some cases testing may be needed to confirm.

Individuals experiencing the listed symptoms should stay home from work or school and contact their health care provider, the health unit says.

The flu can affect anyone, including those who are healthy, but people at higher risk of serious complications are:

  • young children
  • babies under 6 months of age (who are unable to get the vaccine)
  • adults aged 65 and over
  • pregnant women
  • those living with chronic health conditions (such as asthma, bronchitis, diabetes, heart disease)

WECHU recommends the following precautions to prevent getting or spreading the flu:

  • everyone over 6 months of age should get a flu vaccine every year
  • wash your hands often
  • cough and sneeze into your arm or tissue
  • do not touch your face
  • stay home when you are sick
  • avoid close contact with others if feeling ill
  • clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces and shared items