The first confirmed cases of the flu has been reported in Windsor-Essex.

Dr. Gary Kirk, of the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit, made the announcement of five cases early Wednesday.

In a media release Kirk said there are two positive cases in the community and three positive cases linked to a long-term care facility outbreak in Windsor.

There were no positive cases at this time last year.

Flu by the numbers

3 million to 7.5 million: Estimated number of Canadians who become infected with the influenza virus each year.

4,000 to 8,000:The approximate number of Canadians who die of influenza or its complications each year in Canada.

70 to 90 per cent: Percentage of influenza vaccinations that successfully produce the antibodies to fight off the flu in healthy adults.

6-10: Typical number of days it takes people to get over the flu. Symptoms include fever, headache, coughing, loss of appetite, muscle aches, fatigue, and sometimes stomach ache and diarrhea.

3:The number of pandemics (worldwide epidemics) of influenza in the 1900s. They occurred the influenza seasons of 1918-1919, 1957-1958 and 1968-1969.

"We’re getting a lot of influenza," said Dr. Tom Barnard, a family physician in Windsor. "Each week I would argue we’re seeing an extra 10 or 15 people coming in with what appears to be the flu."

Barnard is also a member of a flu surveillance team that reports its findings to the Ministry of Health.

"The people we’ve seen so far have been pretty ill," Barnard said.

Symptoms of the flu include fever, headache, coughing, loss of appetite, muscle aches, fatigue, and sometimes stomach ache and diarrhea.

"Most of us will get by just fine," Barnard said.

Others, including the very young, elderly, members of the First Nations community and those with compromised immune systems, do not.

"If you’re someone really at risk … then you really should get a flu shot, for sure," Barnard said. "They’re free and available almost everywhere."

Barnard said not only should people get the flu shot, they should use a fist bump over a handshake, take vitamin D and wash their hands often.

The health unit has five remaining flu shot clinics scheduled for this year.

One is being held Wednesday in Kingsville from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.

People can also get flu shots from their health-care provider or a participating pharmacy. The health unit maintains the flu shot remains the best way to protect yourself from the flu.

Theresa Marentette, the health unit's director of health protection, said the number of people getting the flu shot at its offices in Windsor-Essex is down 13 per cent.

However, she said more pharmacies are offering the service.

"We’re not concerned because access is available," she said.