Peak flu season starting now and may last longer, says doctor

Desiree Burns
January 9, 2019

In contrast, H1N1 tends to target children and younger adults more than seniors - and flu-trackers like Skowronski say this season is no exception. Regardless of race, age, gender or ethnicity, anyone can get sick from the flu. The Centers for Disease Control says flu rates across the country are high this year. That's slightly less compared to this time a year ago, but by February of 2018, the number of flu-related deaths skyrocketed to 200. It is especially important for those under 5, over 65, nursing home residents and people with chronic medical conditions. Children who are free from cold and flu symptoms may be allowed to visit new siblings on the Obstetrics unit or Pediatric unit, but may be required to undergo screening for illness by staff before being allowed to visit.

This year, even before the typical peak of flu season, the CDC reports that Georgia is already experiencing high and widespread numbers of flu-like illnesses and confirmed cases.

While the rate of occurrence is starting to starting to slide and the impact to long-term care facilities has been low compared to last season, the number of respiratory visits to the emergency room at Winnipeg's Children's Hospital has increased in the last five weeks, statistics show.

Kaiser noted it's not too late to get vaccinated against influenza. "Less often, a person might get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes". It takes about two weeks after vaccination for protection to set in.

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The flu season is far from over though. Healthcare workers should also get the vaccine to protect themselves and those that they care for.

"We also have good evidence that having a flu shot greatly reduces the risk of hospitalization or death even for those who do get the flu anyway", he added.

"We're really just now getting into our flu season", said Dr. Michelle Murti of Public Health Ontario, noting that the proportion of tests on people with respiratory bugs that came back positive for influenza had doubled to 16 per cent in the week ending December 29, compared to eight per cent the week before. Hospitals do not offer flu shots or routinely test for the flu.

"At the first sign of the flu - fever, muscle aches, and fatigue - call your doctor".

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