Health Care

Flu Season Expected To be Harsher This Year

Flu Season Expected To be Harsher This Year”

Dr. Saqib Shahab is impressed by the number of Saskatchewan residents who have rolled up their sleeves to get flu shots. The flu vaccine can not give you the flu.

Health officials say the United States could have a harsher than usual flu season, and is already showing influenza activity above the national baseline for the first time this season. Regina and surrounding area has had 17 confirmed cases so far this flu season. Of those who tested positive for influenza (22%), 87% tested positive for influenza A and 13% for influenza B viruses. "There's usually a little bit of a lag between when we start seeing transmission happening in the community and when we start seeing outbreaks". "It mutates as it goes from person to person, that's why it's so hard to predict what season we'll have". Last year, it was 42% effective.

"I think that just reflects who gets swabbed", Shahab said.

MedExpress pointed to a November 29 perspective published by The New England Journal of Medicine that began: "As clinicians in the United States prepare for the start of another influenza season, experts have been watching the Southern Hemisphere winter for hints of what might be in store for us in the North. Reports from Australia have caused mounting concern, with record-high numbers of laboratory-confirmed influenza notifications and outbreaks and higher-than-average numbers of hospitalizations and deaths".

Pharmacists can only immunize those nine years of age and older. Its a safe and effective way to prevent illness and save lives by significantly limiting your likelihood of passing on flu symptoms to vulnerable loved ones, ” Collett said. He said flu strains always are out there, 365 days a year, readjusting and reforming.

"The vaccine efficacy can be anywhere from 40 to 60 percent".

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The vaccine also takes about two week to provide full protection against the flu so it's advised you get a shot sooner rather than later.

If you havent been vaccinated yet, youre not alone.

Shelton explained that ILI are those with a fever, cough and sore throat without any other defined illness.

"It is very important to limit transmission to those at high risk - especially in long-term care facilities", he said. Prior to that, the county had logged 34 cases in the entire nine weeks of this year's flu season.

"This is more typical of what we see most years", Shahab said.

He expects a spike when children return to school in January after the Christmas break.



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