Published: Sat, January 05, 2019
Health Care | By Edgar Pierce

Flu Activity Begins to Climb Across the Country

Flu Activity Begins to Climb Across the Country

Influenza is notoriously unpredictable.

Flu vaccines are available at many locations throughout MI, including doctor's offices, pharmacies and local health departments. One of the 10 flu deaths in Arkansas this flu season was pediatric. So far, there have been five influenza-associated pediatric deaths this 2018-2019 flu season. The dominant strain circulating previous year, H3N2, was especially hard to stop.

The most common type of flu around is the influenza A strain H1N1.

In February of past year, the flu vaccine advisory group of the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended changing two of the four components for the flu vaccine administered in the Northern Hemisphere.

"It was specimens from our lab that helped pull this together to identify what is needed", said Monto.

While the number of flu cases is down in the rest of Atlantic Canada, health professionals are warning that not enough people are getting the flu shot, which puts themselves and others at risk.

Vaccinations can be given any time during the flu season but providers are encouraged to administer the vaccine as soon as possible.

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After a slow start, influenza is beginning to take hold across the U.S. The good news is that it's unlikely to be as bad as last season, when nearly 80,000 Americans died.

Social distancing means that those sick with the flu should stay home from work, school, and other gatherings and not return until they have been free of fever - with a temperature less than 100 degrees F (37.8 degrees C) without the use of fever-reducing medications for at least 24 hours.

"We're getting about a half a percent each week, but we do expect that to increase", said Dr.

Martin and Monto are frustrated that the vaccine is sometimes not as effective as everyone would like, but wish more people understood the benefits even a "poor match" can offer.

Save a life with the flu vaccine. "The flu vaccine is one of our safest vaccines". "Also be sure to take any antiviral medication as your doctor prescribes". "When you have a lot more people get sick, you have more people who are hospitalized and more people who die". "It's only early that you can do something about flu", said Monto.

· Practice social distancing if you have cold or flu-like symptoms.

"Be aware. Be ready".

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