'Bad flu season' peaking, but far from over


"This morning, I couldn't stand up".

"Flu activity has definitely increased", Armellino said.

More patients are seeking the flu vaccine in an unprecedented post-Christmas rush.

"It is anticipated that the local seasonal influenza activity will continue to rise in the coming weeks and remain at an elevated level for some time", said the Centre for Health Protection.

If you have not received a flu shot yet, it's not too late.

Still, there has been an uptick in hospital admissions statewide, which jumped 40 percent from 870 during the last week of December to 1,258 by the end of the first week of January. "It's the highest it's been this early in the season, and it's the highest it's been period".

Emergency rooms are crowded and ambulances are in high demand.

Act quickly if you: Develop sudden chest pain Have difficulty breathing Start coughing up blood Where can you get the flu jab?

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"The simplest way to describe it is that flu is everywhere in the US right now", Jernigan said.

There's a tent in place at Kaweah Delta Medical Center in the Central California city of Visalia, where doctors this week have been pulling double and triple shifts to keep up.

- Only two visitors at a time are permitted at a patient's bedside.

The CDC estimates that since 2010, flu-related hospitalizations among children younger than 5 ranged from 7,000 to 26,000 a year in the U.S. Since the 2004-2005 flu season, between 37 and 171 children have died of the flu each year. The flu is a respiratory illness caused by viruses.

That being said, the best way to protect against the flu is to get the vaccine.

H3N2, which is the dominant flu in both Canada and the US, is prone to mutation, which can make the vaccine against it less effective - even though it appears the virus strain was correctly predicted.

The vaccine was 48 percent effective in 2016-17 and 59 percent effective in 2015-16, according to the federal CDC.

Officials said that this flu season is shaping up to be one of the worst in recent years. How well it is working won't be known until next month but it's expected to be better than the 10 percent Australia reported.

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Canada-wide, there have been 54 flu-related deaths so far this winter.

Hospitalizations of the elderly are climbing.

An average of 700 Arizonans die from flu and pneumonia every year.

Morgan attributed the epidemic in part to the strain of the flu this season. However, those who get a shot and still contract the flu experience milder and shorter symptoms, research suggests.

- Stay home from work or school if you are sick.

Some chemists told the Telegraph that they avoided overstocking supplies as they are only reimbursed by the NHS for vaccines that are used.

"We're not seeing anything that's alarmingly high", Allen said. "You don't expect to wake up with sniffles and two days later find yourself in a medically induced coma".

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