Marion County hospitals to temporarily restrict visitors due to high flu activity

Henrietta Brewer
January 9, 2019

Twenty-four states and Guam were reporting widespread influenza activity - meaning the virus has spread to many parts of the state, regardless of severity - as of December 29, the latest date included in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) weekly flu report. (Lab-confirmed cases represent a small percentage of all flu cases, often just the ones that require hospitalization).

This year, the committee is again recommending the "FluMist" for the current flu season, in part because manufacturers' data show it is again effective for children ages 2-4.

The number of states reporting high influenza-like illness has increased sharply recently.

Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) who received the seasonal influenza vaccine had a38% reduction in influenza-related hospitalizations compared with those who were unvaccinated.

Sterling Regional MedCenter and all other hospitals in the Banner Health system are restricting visitors.

Across Ontario, influenza has been hitting young children, but the picture is a little different in the Quinte area.

No other details regarding the child's death have been released at this time.

In contrast, H1N1 tends to target children and younger adults more than seniors - and flu-trackers like Skowronski say this season is no exception.

It can be hard to predict, but so far it appears the 2018/19 season will peak in late January and early February.

Cadieux noted that flu season peaked early this year in Alberta, but has yet to peak in Ottawa.

Ottawa Public Health offers flu shots, by appointment, for children under five (613 580-6744). Hospitals do not offer flu shots or routinely test for the flu.

Of course, it's still possible to get the flu even if you've gotten the flu shot, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't get vaccinated. Healthcare workers should also get the vaccine to protect themselves and those that they care for.

If symptoms become severe - such as shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, extreme weakness, lips turning blue or passing out - go to emergency, say public health officials.

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