The Flu Nearly Reached Epidemic Levels This Season

Administering a flu vaccination to a patient is Terri Buratczuk clinical director of the Tri City Health Partnership a free health clinic in St. Charles that provides services for those who are uninsured or underinsured

Effectively battling bug

White County Public Health nurse Marsha Oilar said a 91-year-old man from Reynolds, Indiana has died because of the virus.

Lee Health reported similar numbers at their facilities.

"Yes, this year is looking to be a bad year, as was last year", Noble said.

With the year-end holiday merriment behind us, the potential for a surge in the spread of the influenza virus is at hand. "The Ministry of Health has done a lot of initiatives to be prepared". Combining the flu vaccine along with the practice of some simple, yet important, precautionary measures will help protect you and others from the misery "the bug" can bring.

People getting the flu from the vaccine is a misconception, de Lota said.

At the same time, the number of flu cases is continuing to rise across Canada.

If you experience flu-like symptoms, stay home 24-48 hours after symptoms resolve, unless you are seeking medical care.

There is a mix of two primary strains making people sick this season.

The Ohio Department of Health said influenza A, or H3N2, is the most common virus this season. It also reported that outpatient visits to doctors with influenzalike symptoms were above normal in every region of the country.

There was a substantial epidemic due to H3N2 in the southern hemisphere, which is prompting predictions of a severe season in Canada.

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The deaths are the first reported by the state since flu season started in October.

Australia also experienced significant cases of influenza B and parts of Canada appear to be mimicking that pattern.

The state Department of Health Services reported 11,515 flu cases so far this season, compared with 1,109 cases during the same time period a year ago.

"Even if it's not 100 percent effective, it still reduces the number of hospitalizations and can make the illness more mild if you do get the flu", said Jennifer Layden with the Illinois Department of Public Health.

A recent update by the Centers For Disease Control shows 46 states at a high or widespread level for influenza...

But Harding said that is not the case at FMC.

"That means increased hospitalizations and unfortunately, increased deaths", Lynette Brammer, an epidemiologist in the CDC's Influenza Division, tells us. Additional information can be found at www.flu.gov.

A "see and treat" area has opened at BGH.

Health officials and the local medical community are urging residents with minor flu or flu-like symptoms to refrain from going to hospital emergency departments to avoid over-stressing resources.

"Everybody should get their flu vaccination and try to avoid contact with people who may be sick", Manrique said.

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