A child is dead after being medevaced to Iqaluit as Iglulik copes with a flu outbreak.
The Department of Health has not confirmed the cause of death, or the child’s age or gender.
Iglulik Mayor Celestino Uyarak said the ailing child was flown out on March 3 and died on March 5. A second child was very close to perishing, he said, and some residents who have been flown to the hospital in Iqaluit have been diagnosed with pneumonia.
Uyarak said he has witnessed long lines of ill people at the local health centre, where he said the nurses are under extraordinary pressure.
“I’m told by the head nurse that this is really way out of hand,” the mayor said of the outbreak. “The nurses are exhausted, tired. They work all night. They need a rest, too, and they do get sick as well from this (contagious) illness.”
Uyarak didn’t know exactly how many nurses were on staff at the health centre but he said there were two working when he was there last Saturday and they were awaiting relief from two fresh colleagues.
He added that he’s been recommending the closure of Iglulik’s schools to reduce the spread of the illness, which Uyarak said is often accompanied by a strong cough, but the elementary and high schools remained open as of Thursday.
Rapid transmission of the flu is partly due to having so many people living in crowded residences, according to the mayor.
“That’s one of the reasons why – overcrowded units has been a factor,” he said, adding that poor air circulation and mould in houses are also detriments.
The Department of Health has advised that this is an active flu season in Nunavut and that respiratory illness associated with the flu has been on the rise. The flu symptoms are fever and cough, runny nose, sore throat, body aches, feeling tired and loss of appetite.
Those who have the flu are encouraged to rest and consume plenty of water and juice. Common painkillers like Tylenol and Advil can be used by most people suffering from fever and aches and pains. If symptoms get worse, a trip to the health centre is recommended.
To lessen the chances of spreading the flu, wash your hands thoroughly with warm water and soap, cough into the crook of your arm and stay home from work or school.