03/03/2016 10:01 EST | Updated 03/04/2017 00:12 EST

Montreal flu season spikes at 1,200 reported cases in 1 week

Montreal's flu season is off to a late start but the city's public health authority says it could peak this month.

There were 1,200 reported cases of influenza last week alone, according to the public health authority. Last year's high topped out at 1,700 cases of the flu.

Dr. Harley Eisman with the Montreal Children's Hospital says there are close to 300 children showing up to the emergency room every single day.

The wait at the emergency room can be up to 10 hours as a result.

"We're seeing a lot of patients presenting with colds, runny noses and coughs. We know it's the flu," said Eisman.

Public health officer Dr. Renée Paré says there is still time to get a flu shot but that it is also important to be active and get outside.

"All those things are good for you know for immunity that's for sure," Paré said.

Montrealers can prevent the spread of the flu by using basic hygiene measures, such as washing hands frequently and avoiding touching eyes, nose and mouth.

Paré adds that if you're sick, it's best to stay home from work.