Time is running out for residents to get vaccinated before the flu season really hits.

Marianne Rock is the manager within the Communicable Disease Prevention and Control Department with the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit and says the flu shot takes two weeks to take effect. “So it is really important to get it before Christmas especially,” Rock says.

Rock added the disease is easily spread when people get together for holiday gatherings, which is why the flu season doesn’t really kick off until after Christmas and New Year.

Hastings-Prince Public Health reports the first case of the flu has popped up in the Quinte region.

Public Health says that aside from getting the flu shot, people to wash their hands properly and often to prevent spreading it to others. You should also clean frequently touched surfaces like doorknobs, phones or TV remotes since the virus can live on hard surfaces for up to 48 hours. Public Health also says to cough into the bend of your arm, not your hand and to avoid touching your nose, mouth or eyes with your hands.

While most people recover from the flu in 7 to 10 days, the wait-times at hospitals during the holidays are high so making sure you’re protected is vital. “The very young, elderly, pregnant women, and patients with other high-risk medical conditions, or patients with severe flu symptoms, including difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, should go to the emergency department,” they add.

With files from Greg Higgins