Longford people in flu risk group are urged to get vaccinated

As flu outbreak numbers rise, the HSE says it's not too late to get your vaccine

As flu outbreak numbers rise, the HSE says it's not too late to get your vaccine

At this point in the 2017-2018 flu season, 46 states were reporting widespread flu activity, there were 13.7 flu hospitalizations per 100,000 people and nearly 6% of doctor's visits were related to the flu.

Cases of influenza are continuing to ramp up across the country, with kids and teens bearing much of the brunt of the dreaded winter bug, say infectious diseases experts, predicting that the peak of the annual sneezing-coughing-feeling-miserable season is likely still several weeks away. Officials say there are many, many more people sick with influenza. Just 13 per cent of lab-confirmed flu cases were among children under four in Ottawa, compared with 47 per cent among seniors over 65.

Dr. Nicole Saphier tells you what signs and symptoms to watch out for this flu season.

Seventy-one of those kids had to be admitted to the ICU.

However, these figures reflect only cases in which testing was performed; many more people who come down with the flu don't seek medical assistance and therefore aren't tested.

"We're really just now getting into our flu season", said Dr. Michelle Murti of Public Health Ontario, noting that the proportion of tests on people with respiratory bugs that came back positive for influenza had doubled to 16 per cent in the week ending December 29, compared to eight per cent the week before.

Federal health officials say it's still not too late to get a flu shot. A year ago was especially bad, as an estimated 80,000 people died from flu complications. H3N2, the strain largely responsible for last year's outbreak, has so far been less common than the H1N1 strain. It was the deadliest in 40 years when less than half of Americans got vaccinated.

"While most people will get better themselves from flu, anyone who is concerned about their condition should telephone their GP or an out of hours medical service so they can arrange to be treated in a way that does not put others at risk", he explained.

"It's not too late".

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