Published: Wed, January 09, 2019
Medicine | By Tracy Klein

Flu activity begins to spike across country

Flu activity begins to spike across country

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.

Those in at-risk groups include people aged 65 and over, pregnant women and people with chronic illness.

While H1N1-predominant seasons tend to be milder overall at the population level compared to those characterized primarily by H3N2, individuals who get hit with either strain won't detect much of a difference - both bring on fever, cough, general malaise and achy muscles and joints, she said from Vancouver. According to the hospital's press release, the ban will take effect on Wednesday and last "for the remainder of this flu season". (Lab-confirmed cases represent a small percentage of all flu cases, often just the ones that require hospitalization).

Nor has CHEO seen the kind of spike in influenza-related hospitalizations among children being reported in other parts of the country, said spokesman Paddy Moore.

Ottawa Public Health offers flu shots, by appointment, for children under five (613 580-6744).

It's been less severe so far this year, but federal health officials say they're now seeing sharp increases in flu activity nationwide. "It's the best protection that we have to give people against the flu", said Russell, adding that children and adolescents, adults with underlying lung or heart conditions and the elderly should make sure they are immunized. People who suspect they are infected with influenza should stay home from work or school and seek evaluation by a medical provider. Flu shots are $20 for everyone age 2 and older.

If symptoms become severe - such as shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, extreme weakness, lips turning blue or passing out - go to emergency, say public health officials.

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