The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit has announced the first confirmed case of influenza B in Windsor and Essex County.

The heath unit says last year there were 160 lab confirmed cases of influenza and six deaths attributed to influenza, with the first case being reported on Oct. 21, 2016.

The Health Unit is reminding everyone that the best way to protect against the influenza virus and lower your risk of flu is to get the flu vaccine.

“The province is bracing for a challenging flu season” says Dr. Wajid Ahmed, acting Medical Officer of Health.

According to the latest reports from the Canadian Flu Watch program, “the percentage of laboratory tests positive for influenza remains higher for this time of year compared to previous seasons.”

The Health Unit cautions that while most people feel healthy, the flu shot has benefits that extend beyond our own immune systems.

If people get the flu shot every year, the likelihood of getting the flu is reduced, and that means people are unlikely to spread the disease to family, friends and into the community.  It is highly recommended that people protect themselves and the ones they love by getting vaccinated.

The flu vaccine is free for people who work, live or study in Ontario.