Sneezes and sniffles: Sask. flu season may have peaked

Sneezes and sniffles: Sask. flu season may have peaked

Sneezes and sniffles: Sask. flu season may have peaked

This year the flu is especially hard-hitting, with the number of reported influenza-related deaths last week doubling to a season-to-date total of 91.

- A spike in flu cases in NY and across the country has health officials urging people to get influenza vaccine if they haven't done so already. Compared to the 2016-2017 flu season, there were 1,109 total cases and 275 weekly cases reported for the same time period past year.

The predominant flu strain this season is AH3N2, which typically causes serious illnesses, hospitalizations and even death, particularly for those who are very young or old and those with weakened immune systems.

Dr. Spire said it's still important to get the flu shot. "While our flu vaccines are far from ideal, they are the best way to prevent getting sick from the flu and it is not too late to get one", Fitzgerald said. To locate a county health department clinic in your area or for more information on the flu, visit the MSDH website. People who are at high-risk for flu complications, such as young children, pregnant woman and elderly people, may need a prescription antiviral drug, such as Tamiflu or Relenza, the news release said.

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That being said, the best way to protect against the flu is to get the vaccine. The FluMist nasal vaccine offered in the past has not been very effective against H1N1 strains in recent years, so the CDC says it "should not be used".

If you do get the flu, it's prudent to see a doctor within 48 hours, according to Berg. Flu seasons during which H3 viruses are prevalent are usually worse and come with more hospitalizations and deaths. "Parents should make sure their kids are vaccinated and keep them home from school if they have flu-like illness or symptoms".

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports influenza activity has spread to 46 US states.

Jernigan said the 2017-18 flu season started early and probably is peaking, though he cautioned that "we have a lot more flu to go".

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Health officials describe the pronounced symptoms of the H3N2 strain which include extreme fatigue, body aches, and a respiratory infection which could last days.

Official effectiveness data on this season's flu vaccine will not be available until the middle of next month.

Cover your nose and mouth with the crook of your arm when coughing or sneezing.

Basic measures such as washing hands frequently, staying home when sick, and coughing into sleeves or tissues can help stem the flu from spreading further.

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