2017-18 flu season expected to be one of worst in years

Francis Osborne
January 11, 2018

In December 2016, only 15 cases of the flu were reported in Hays County, according to a press release.

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

"What has happened in some instances over the last week have been just spot shortages of the medication because of increased demand in some cities and in some pharmacies", he said.

Doctors stress prevention is key by frequent handwashing, avoiding crowds if you're sick, stay home from work if you're sick, and avoid touching your eyes/nose/mouth.

Doing so is "very important", Tam said, "as we move ahead to future years of vaccine program planning and recommendations".

"There's still time for every person who's six months of age or older in Los Angeles County to still receive the flu vaccine, but time is short and we hope you get vaccinated soon if you haven't", he said.

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The CDC has only one chance to get the vaccine right, Harding said, meaning it can not offer another one halfway through the flu season.

The body takes about two weeks to produce a full immune response following inoculation. Estimates are that it's about 32% effective, while last year it was 39% effective and most years it's 40% to 60% effective.

"It's safe to say that we are now experiencing a flu outbreak and these three voluntarily reported flu-related deaths reflect that", said Chief Epidemiologist Russell Jones. There have been four outbreaks of influenza at long-term care/assisted living facilities in the county.

Meanwhile, the FDOH recommends sick people stay home until fever-free for at least 24 hours and that all people wash their hands frequently.

Harding said the main reason for the rough flu season stems from the Centers for Disease Control missing the mark on the vaccine to combat the current strain. Two strains of the virus are affecting the population - the dominant and more severe influenza A strain (H3N2) which mostly impacts the elderly, and an influenza B/Yamagata strain which affects both adults and children. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. What to be on the lookout for number one is fever, muscle aches, sore throat.

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