Friday, 18 January, 2019

Flu cases starting to surge, with kids and teens especially vulnerable: doctors

Melissa Porter | 10 January, 2019, 07:55

Children less than two years old and adults older than 65. 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.

The best protection against the flu is the flu shot, but is it too late to get vaccinated?

The Public Health Agency of Canada reports that 414 children under the age of 16 had to be hospitalized due to influenza across Canada since September, including 71 who had to be admitted to the ICU. The Department of Health also recommends that people take the necessary precautions during this flu season: wash or disinfect your hands frequently, cover any coughs and sneezes, stay home and call your health care provider if you are sick (especially with a fever).

But after the Southern Hemisphere experienced a much milder flu season about six months ago, health experts are hopeful this year won't be as bad.

Flu cases last week fell to 257 from 369 the previous week.

The timing of seasonal flu outbreaks vary and can begin as early as late October. The child lived in the central region of New Jersey and passed away in December.

From Dec. 23 to 29, 2019, the province reported 64 new influenza cases, including one death and one ICU admission.

"At the end of 2018, flu activity was high in New York City and 19 states, including most of the American southwest and New Jersey. This year, the predominant strain we're seeing is H1N1", Shahab said.

The HSE has urged all people in at-risk groups for the flu to get vaccinated if they have not done so already.

A spokesperson for the HSE said that the best way to protect yourself is to get the flu vaccine.

Although most people who get the flu recover within a few days or a couple of weeks, some can develop pneumonia and life-threatening complications. It also misstated the percentage of children that make up B.C.'s population.