Flu Season Has Kicked In... Here's How to Protect Yourself

Maricruz Casares
Enero 10, 2019

Those in at-risk groups include people aged 65 and over, pregnant women and people with chronic illness.

Ottawa, in contrast, was seeing a lower rate of influenza overall and among children than the national rates as of the end of the year (the most recent numbers).

The severity of last year's flu season, which killed an estimated 80,000 people, may be one of the reasons behind the slow start to the 2018-2019 season. However, health officials say the flu shot works better against that strain. Eighty-five per cent of children admitted to intensive care because of the flu are under the age of 10, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Flu season lasts until May. (Lab-confirmed cases represent a small percentage of all flu cases, often just the ones that require hospitalization). Typically, the Atlantic province begins seeing a surge of flu in late December, following the close-quarters socializing of the Christmas holidays when the virus finds lots of hosts to infect.

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The Children's Hospital of Wisconsin is temporarily banning children under the age of 12 from visiting in order to prevent the further spread of the flu virus.

"Flu activity has taken off our projection is that it's going to continue to increase, probably for the next few months", says Dr. Andrew Walshak with Presbyterian/ St. Luke's Medical Center. H3N2, the strain largely responsible for last year's outbreak, has so far been less common than the H1N1 strain.

It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body that protect against the flu virus, so the earlier the shot is administered, the better.

Flu vaccine critics, including naturopathy practitioners, argue that mercury, detergents and other additives sometimes packed into the shots can do more harm than good.

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