Health Care

End for rough flu season in sight?

Sixty three per cent of people with confirmed influenza this season did not get

The Centers for Disease Control said 97 children nationwide have died from the flu this season.

The influenza death toll reached 200 last week in North Carolina with almost three months remaining in the flu season, according to state public health reports.

Well, here's a silver lining to the worst flu season in about a decade: It has to end sometime. While the flu continues to be widespread in 48 states, the CDC is citing fewer hospitalizations and deaths as a sign the country might have reached peak season.

H3N2, an elusive influenza A virus that has been the main culprit in this season's reduced vaccine effectiveness, remained the predominant strain, but the CDC noted a continued upswing in influenza B viruses, which in not unusual for late-season activity. Five states, Connecticut, Hawaii, Iowa, Utah, and Wisconsin, reported moderate activity of flu-like illness. No children have died of influenza in Peel Region during this flu season, which spans from September 2017 to February 2018. Producers inject the seed strains into eggs and incubate them as the virus grows.

Health officials are advising that people receive the flu vaccine. Last week, there were 88 reported cases. The rate of flu-related hospitalizations for adults age 65 and older climbed to over 300 per 100,000 (to 322.7 per 100,000), followed by adults ages 50-64, at 79.9 per 100,000.

Flu shots are recommended for all those six months and older.

Overall the vaccine has been 67 percent effective against the H1N1 flu virus that's also circulating, and 42 percent effective against flu B viruses.

Of this season's 200 total deaths since October 1, more than 140 have occurred among people 65 or older, the data showed. And until scientists develop a universal flu vaccine that's effective against all strains, the vaccines we have will only reduce the severity of flu season, not eliminate it.

"It's not necessarily worse, the worst that we have seen by any stretch".

For most people, the flu is about rest, staying hydrated and alternating Tylenol and Motrin.

One study published last year suggested FluBlok might have worked better than at least one of the other vaccines on the market in past year. "That's why we say people need to get vaccinated-it equips your body to fight the virus".