FMC says flu-related emergency visits increasing

Australia's rough flu season hints at a similar one in the US

In December, the Ohio Department of Health raised the level of flu activity in the state to "widespread", the highest level of concern.

Byrne says wash your hands to keep from catching the flu. The vaccination is available at most healthcare providers' offices, local health departments and retail pharmacies.

'Anyone that's had influenza, and I mean real influenza - not a sniffle or a cough or a cold - but real, true influenza, they'll know how severe this can be, ' says Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious disease specialist at University Health Network in Toronto.

Influenza symptoms include fever, cough, muscle aches, sore throat, chills, and a headache.

"Most people with the flu do not need to come to the emergency room, urgent care or even my clinic", said Chief Family Medicine Resident Dr. Rebecca Newton. Estimates are that it's about 32% effective, while last year it was 39% effective and most years it's 40% to 60% effective.

Seek emergency medical care when you see signs of serious illness.

"Given the mix of influenza viruses circulating right now and more could still circulate later on in the ensuing months, we still recommend influenza vaccine for Canadians over six months of age", she said.

Joanie Morgan, vice president of quality and patient safety at Citrus Memorial Hospital, said most people who get the flu recover in a few days or up to two weeks.

"It's too early to know if the spike we are now experiencing will translate into a peak for the season", she said.

White County Public Health nurse Marsha Oilar said a 91-year-old man from Reynolds, Indiana has died because of the virus.

"Even though we can't cure the flu, medications are available that can be taken that will diminish the severity and duration of the flu symptom", said Ruis. In Ohio, adult deaths believed to be associated with the flu aren't required to be reported to public health agencies. Younger patients tend to present a little bit differently.

According to US officials, the flu vaccine is still the best way to safeguard your immune system against influenza. However, some have chronic health problems and the flu can lead to complications ranging from moderate to life-threatening.

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