Thursday, 17 January, 2019

Flu activity begins to spike across country

Melissa Porter | 09 January, 2019, 13:14

At this point in the 2017-2018 flu season, 46 states were reporting widespread flu activity, there were 13.7 flu hospitalizations per 100,000 people and nearly 6% of doctor's visits were related to the flu.

While parts of the country are struggling with a tougher than usual flu season, especially for young children, Ottawa so far seems to be experiencing a less severe season - so far.

The viruses circulating this year are another reason for the milder season.

Officials say there are many, many more people sick with influenza. "It's just a slow upward, so we're only at the beginning of flu season right now".

"The graph of flu activity in our hospital is just increasing", he explains.

Since September, PHAC says 414 children under age 16 have been hospitalized for flu, with the highest estimated rate of admission among kids under five years of age. Typically, the Atlantic province begins seeing a surge of flu in late December, following the close-quarters socializing of the Christmas holidays when the virus finds lots of hosts to infect. Severe complications of influenza infection include pneumonia which can lead to hospitalization and death.

Dr. Nicole Saphier tells you what signs and symptoms to watch out for this flu season. They are reminding people to wash their hands frequently, cover their coughs and sneezes with arms, not hands, clean frequently touched surfaces and keep a distance from others to avoid spreading the flu. Flu shots are $20 for everyone age 2 and older. "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.