Maine Officials Warn Of Sharp Uptick In Flu Hospitalizations

GETTY    
     KILLER Microscope image of the deadly H3N2 strain

GETTY KILLER Microscope image of the deadly H3N2 strain

Flu season runs from October through the month of April, but now with so much more worldwide travel, there are actually cases of influenza reported year round according to Livingston County Medical Director Dr. Don Lawrenchuk.

Professor John Oxford is one of the UK's top experts on influenza and the scientific director for Oxford Media Medicine.

"What that number doesn't tell you is if you get the flu, it may be milder and a shorter course than it would be".

The Irish Health Service Executive (HSE) said a "small number" of people had died in the last fortnight after contracting the H3N2 strain - the one blamed for numerous deaths in Australia previous year. He died of pneumonia after being infected with Type B flu virus. It was witnessed predominantly in Australia this year, hence the name.

Multiple cases have been reported locally and the Livingston County Health Department is reminding residents that it isn't too late to protect themselves from the flu. "I don't give specific numbers when it's less than 10 because people could be identified".

"We want to do everything we can to prevent the transmission of flu and so when I talk to my patients about getting the flu shot, I say, it's the most you can do, so you might as well take advantage of what you can do", he said. Statistically, every 100 people who get the flu will infect 127 others.

In other words, it still reduces the risk of developing serious flu symptoms and the likelihood of fatality, he stressed.

As of last week, there was "high activity" of the flu - the highest prevalence ranking - in almost half of the US. But there are some who are particularly susceptible to catching it and can become very ill.

Well, according to the report there are a number of "higher risk" groups.

"Young children are often called "super spreaders" as their personal hygiene habits aren't as good as adults'".

The state Center for Disease Control and Prevention has reported 373 flu cases through December 23, with 99 requiring hospitalization. However, the virus in the government-funded vaccine is the Victoria lineage.

A spokesperson for PHE told HuffPost UK: "We are now seeing a mix of flu types, including the A (H3N2) strain that circulated last winter in the UK and then in Australia".

"We therefore encourage all those who are eligible to take up the offer of the vaccine". "The illness is contagious through droplets in the air", he said.

With the flu prevalent in the area, local hospital systems are putting visitor restrictions in place.

"There are a number of ways to limit the spread of flu".

You can catch the cold from the vaccine. You should then dispose of the tissues in a bin and wash your hands regularly with soap and warm water.

With the preparation of 6 million doses for the vaccination program this season, there are now less than 140,000 doses left, Chuang said, encouraging those targeted to get a flu shot as soon as possible.

Myth #2 - Healthy people do not need to be vaccinated. However, for those that are more vulnerable, it can be more severe and it is important to be aware of this and seek help when needed. For anyone in those higher risk categories, contacting a GP should be the next step.

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