Published: Thu, January 11, 2018
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Widespread flu activity grows statewide

Widespread flu activity grows statewide

The nation is having a awful, horrible, no good, very bad flu season. At least 27 Californians younger than 65 had died as of Friday, seven of them during the week before Christmas, according to the California Department of Public Health.

Although flu-related deaths spiked, the number of lab-confirmed flu cases dropped last week, according to a county health report.

Despite what you have been told, the cold weather is not the reason for catching the flu, though it is a symptom. Only a few northeastern states and Hawai'i were not yet widespread.

"Virtually the entire country is reporting that same level of influenza activity", Watt said. That number was up considerably from the week before when they reported 36 states.

Widespread flu activity has been reported in 46 states nationwide, according to the latest flu report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

There was "high activity" of the flu - the highest prevalence ranking - in almost half of the United States as reported last week.

"Influenza is in full swing in Canada", said Tam, noting that this year's flu season started earlier than normal.

It says the H3N2 canine virus is highly transmissible between dogs and has become widespread in parts of Asia and caused outbreaks in some US locations, particularly in shelters.

It's the first Monday back for many on holiday break and experts are warning flu season is expected to be worse than previous years due to this year's flu vaccine not being very effective.

The predominant strain found so far this season is H3N2, which causes more severe disease, more hospitalizations and more deaths than other strains, the Public Health Department said.

Vaccine manufacturers, the World Health Organization and others are studying the situation to determine if that was the case, she said. "It's probably a bad year, but a lot of H3N2 years are bad years, and this is not falling outside of what we would expect in a year where H3N2 viruses are predominant".

Sherlock said most of the people attending the health unit's fall 2017 flu vaccine clinics were seniors. As it turns out, the most common influenza virus in Australia last season was influenza A H3N2.

Canada's chief public health officer says it's possible that this year's flu vaccine may have limited effectiveness against a particularly severe strain of influenza A that appears to be dominant throughout Canada.

"Flu season is something that all school districts are concerned about, so we do everything we can to prevent people from missing school and that includes all our staff".

Antiviral drugs are different from antibiotics. Oseltamivir is available in different formulations in generic and under the trade name 'Tamiflu, ' and zanamivir is available under the tradename 'Relenza, ' " she wrote. Details may change as more information becomes available.

He added that both children and pregnant women are among those at higher risk due to the flu, as are people over the age of 63.

"There was an increase in demand across the province - about a 23 per cent increase - for pharmacies", he said. "We've been in contact with CDC; we've been in contact with manufacturers, distributors; we are sure there is no shortage of antivirals".

County health officials reminded the public that it's not too late to get a flu shot.

"If you haven't gotten your flu shot yet, it's a great time to get it".

He said people should avoid visiting those places if sick.

The best practices to avoid getting sick include frequent hand washing, using hand sanitizers, staying away from sick people, avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth, and cleaning commonly touched surfaces.

In general, get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious foods to stay healthy.

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