01/06/2014 03:22 EST | Updated 03/08/2014 05:59 EST

Cape Breton health authority reports first case of influenza A

SYDNEY, N.S. - The Cape Breton District Health Authority is telling residents to take precautions to limit the spread of flu after the region's first case of influenza A.

The health authority says proper handwashing is the first line of defence to help prevent the spread of the virus.

It also advises people to get a flu shot.

Symptoms of the flu include a sudden onset of the illness, high fever, headaches, general aches and pains, fatigue, congestion and a heavy cough.

The health authority says anyone who has flu-like symptoms should stay at home and avoid large crowds.

It says if the symptoms change or get worse, then people should contact their family doctor or the province's 811 health information service.