Here's what you need to know about flu season

Desiree Burns
January 9, 2019

Ottawa Public Health officials warn that flu has not yet peaked and the level of influenza being seen in other parts of Canada could be coming to Ottawa.

New Jersey has been especially hit hard with flu cases now high around the entire state. Since September, Ottawa Public Health has recorded 77 lab-confirmed cases of the flu, similar to the amount seen at the same time past year. "Among hospitalizations so far this year, the highest rates that we are seeing are in those who are under age 5", said Dr. Daniel Jernigan.

It is recommended that people still get the flu vaccination if they have not already.

Officials say there are many, many more people sick with influenza.

Last season at that point, 11,275 cases of lab-confirmed flu had been reported.

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Twenty-four states and Guam were reporting widespread influenza activity - meaning the virus has spread to many parts of the state, regardless of severity - as of December 29, the latest date included in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) weekly flu report.

Still, respiratory viruses of all kinds have been keeping CHEO busy with the emergency department seeing very high volumes and inpatient units at more than 100 per cent. "Viral season has begun in Wisconsin and we want to implement this restriction in advance of any increase of viral illnesses in our community".

In contrast, H1N1 tends to target children and younger adults more than seniors - and flu-trackers like Skowronski say this season is no exception.

Ottawa Public Health offers flu shots, by appointment, for children under five (613 580-6744). Flu shots are $20 for everyone age 2 and older. People who suspect they are infected with influenza should stay home from work or school and seek evaluation by a medical provider.

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