Flu season spikes in Saskatchewan

Alicia Farmer
January 12, 2018

The prominent strain in this year's flu season was H3N2.

Roughly 270,000 people took advantage of the free flu shot, 20,000 less than past year. By getting the vaccine now, families will protect themselves and their loved ones against the flu during the holidays and through the duration of the flu season. "Emergency departments and outpatient clinics are also seeing very high volumes of patients".

The flu vaccine is the number-one way to prevent the flu, yet national estimates show that only 46.8 percent of people 6 months and older received their vaccination last season; only 43.3 percent of adults 18 and over did.

Although this year's vaccine has not proven as effective to battle the flu as prior years, Randall Todd, director of epidemiology and public health preparedness for the health department, recommends people still get the vaccine.

That's according to Dr. Denise Werker, the province's deputy chief medical health officer, who stood in for Dr. Saqib Shahab to provide reporters with an update Thursday.

The state tracks only pediatric deaths due to the flu, and only one has been reported so far.

Big-city hospitals in Texas have been overwhelmed this week by an influx of flu patients, and state health officials say influenza activity is widespread across the state.

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The CDC believes it could reach near epidemic levels.

Williamson and Hays counties each have reported more than 700 flu cases but no deaths.

On average according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention more than 57,000 children under the age of five are hospitalized for RSV every year.

The number of cases in Saskatchewan is up 80 percent from previous year, something Werker says should not worry people in the province.

A quadrivalent recombinant influenza vaccine is new for the 2017-2018 flu season.

Symptoms of the flu start suddenly and can include; a fever, body aches, or cough and sore throat, just to name a few. Remember the four "C" s: Clean your hands, Cover your cough, Contain germs by avoiding others when you're sick, and Call your doctor if you experience a high-grade fever.

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