Renfrew County and District Health Unit works to increase public awareness of how to prevent the spread of infectious diseases.
How to Protect Yourself & Your Family
Clean your hands
Washing your hands correctly is the best way to protect yourself against many infectious diseases like colds and the flu. If you are sick, hand washing helps to prevent spreading the illness to others.
Cover your cough
Serious respiratory illnesses like the flu, respiratory syncytial virus, and whooping cough are spread by:
- Coughing or sneezing
- Touching contaminated surfaces, then bringing your hands to your face
To help stop the spread of germs:
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze
- If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve – not your hands
- Put your used tissue in the waste basket and wash your hands as soon as possible
Immunization is also called vaccination, needles and shots. Getting immunized is a safe and effective way of preventing many serious diseases that are contagious. See our Immunization page
Avoid close contact
Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.
Stay home when you are sick
If possible, stay home from work, school and errands when you are sick. You will help prevent others from catching your illness.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose or mouth.
More information about infectious diseases:
Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care – Diseases and Conditions
Caring for Kids – Illnesses and Infections
Influenza is a serious illness that affects the airways and spreads easily from infected people through coughing and sneezing. Influenza can cause severe, life‐threatening illness for people in high‐risk groups. People at high risk are under 24 months, age 65 years and over, and anyone with chronic health conditions.
Anyone can get the flu. Flu shots are available free for all Ontario residents over 6 months of age.
Flu shots are available through your local pharmacy, health care provider, and Renfrew County and District Health Unit. Our flu clinics are in late fall. At other times, make an appointment to visit one of our immunization clinics
Lyme disease is spread to humans from the bite of an infected black-legged tick (deer tick).
You get sick usually 3 to 30 days after a bite. In about 70 percent of cases a “bulls-eye” rash will develop at the location of the bite. Other symptoms may include fever, headache, joint and muscle pain, spasms, facial paralysis, fatigue, and numbness or tingling.
You can prevent tick bites when outdoors by:
- Wearing light-coloured clothing
- Wearing closed footwear and socks, with long sleeve shirts tucked into your pants, and your pants tucked into your socks
- Using an insect repellant with DEET or Icaridin according to label directions
- Doing tick checks on yourself and your children after being outside
If you find a tick on your body, bring it to the Renfrew County and District Health Unit for identification and testing. We do not accept ticks from animals.
Ticks and Lyme Disease (PDF 2 pages, 500 KB)
Government of Ontario – Lyme Disease
Public Health Ontario – Lyme Disease
West Nile Virus
West Nile Virus (WNV) is spread to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes become infected after biting infected birds.
Most people who are bitten by an infected mosquito have no symptoms and do not get sick. Some people such as the elderly and those with a weakened immune system may have flu-like symptoms. Very rarely, they have serious complications such as meningitis, encephalitis, acute flaccid paralysis and even death.
Since 2002, the Health Unit has been trapping and testing mosquitoes during the summer months. This helps us to know if mosquitoes that carry the West Nile virus are living in Renfrew County and District.