The first locally-acquired case of influenza has been reported in the London area, and the health unit says it could mean the flu is starting to circulate in the community.

The Middlesex-London Health Unit is reminding residents there is still time to get the annual flu vaccine, which is the easiest way to prevent becoming ill and making others sick.

There are still community vaccination clinics scheduled and the the shot is also available at the health unit's Immunization Clinics in London and Strathroy, as well as at many pharmacies and doctors' offices.

Tristan Squire-Smith, manager of the health unit's Infectious Diseases Control Team, said in a statement "Influenza virus can infect anyone and can leave you aching and miserable for days and it can spread easily when people get together in close groups, like during the holidays,”

In addition to getting a flu shot, the Health Unit recommends cleaning hands frequently with pump soap and water or hand sanitizer, coughing into your upper arm, and staying home if you become ill, as effective ways to prevent spreading influenza.

Common symptoms include the sudden onset of fever, headache, coughing, sore throat, muscle aches and fatigue.