Wednesday, 16 January, 2019

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

As flu outbreak numbers rise, the HSE says it's not too late to get your vaccine Flu activity begins to spike across country
Gustavo Carr | 10 January, 2019, 07:55

Those at higher risk of flu complications include children under five, pregnant women, the elderly and those with chronic illnesses.

To prevent more children from contracting the flu, a hospital in Wisconsin is temporarily restricting children under the age of 12 from visiting. The 2017-2018 flu season killed the most people since the late 1970s, the CDC also said at the time.

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.

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

The 2017/2018 influenza season was considered one of high severity by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), with high rates of emergency department visits and widespread flu activity over an extended period.

Peak flu season starting now and may last longer, says doctor
So if you haven't bothered to get a flu shot , do yourself and the rest of us a favor. "Get your flu shot and get protected". H3N2, the strain largely responsible for last year's outbreak, has so far been less common than the H1N1 strain.

New Brunswick's peak might come somewhat sooner, as cases there began spreading in late November.

Authorities say flu activity across New Jersey is high, so it's important for those who have not yet done so to get a flu shot. "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".

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 takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body that protect against the flu virus, so the earlier the shot is administered, the better.

People with symptoms should stay at home and children should not attend school if showing signs of flu, he said. It also misstated the percentage of children that make up B.C.'s population.