The flu season early this year is going to be rough as flu cases spike all over cold regions. Experts warn more cases may still peak between January and February as temperature goes even lower.
In Canada, experts believe that the flu pattern is similar to that in 2014 and 2015 where flu activity was virulent and brutal. The flu virus that time was H3N2, and vaccine effectiveness rate was at an all time low.
That season also saw the elderly being the primary victims of the virus, with outbreaks occurring in long term facilities. There was also a sudden increase of cases during the holidays, naturally as people gathered to celebrate the occasion.
However, Dr. Skowronski, epidemiology lead for influenza at Center for Disease Control, suspects that cases are just spiking, they are not yet even peaking. She anticipates a surge of flu cases in the coming weeks, The Globe And Mail reports.
In Canada's FluWatch report, there was an increase of hospital admission due to flu symptoms between December 11 to 17. There were 692 cases found that week with H3N2 being the common strain compared to 554 cases the week before.
The good news is, flu vaccines this season show promising results. Experts recommend getting a flu shot as soon as possible since it takes about 2 weeks before it takes effect.
With cold temperatures, the virus lives longer and become more aggressive. One expert explains that the virus lives on inanimate objects which people commonly touch. Examples are door knobs, telephones, light switches, and counter tops among others.
The virus is spread through contact as reported earlier. That's why infection easily occurs during the holidays where people gather more and touch each other or more people touch common objects.
According to the Local 8 Now, as one medical expert recommends, the spread of the virus can be easily prevented through constant hand washing using warm water. Frequently using hand sanitizers is also advisable.
Another important tip is to avoid sneezing on your hands as this further spreads the infection. Sneeze on your elbow instead since contact in this area is minimal, thereby reducing the spread of flu cases.