Winter just wouldn’t be winter without flu season. That’s why it’s cirtical for citizens to stay aware of flu trends throughout the winter, and, of course, get vaccinated and take precautions like frequently washing your hands and keeping a healthy lifestyle during the rough winter months.
Two years ago, North America saw a particularly nasty and deadly flu season. In the United States, alone, an estimated 80,000 people died from the flu in 2017. According to a report by CNN, it was the deadliest season in more than four decades. Only in 1976 did fatalities surpass those of last year.
The government of Canada health agency diligently keeps track of flu infection rates from week to week each winter and makes this information public.
According to recent updates on the “Flu Watch Report”on the government of Canada’s official website, there have been 13,796 laboratory-confirmed influenza cases across Canada this season, up until December 29, 2018. Last year at this time there were only 11,275 confirmed cases.
In short, more people have contracted the flu this year than in the previous years.
Further, according to the Government of Canada weekly summary, Influenza A is the most common influenza virus circulating in Canada, and the majority of these viruses are H1N1 and affecting people under 65.
This goes against common intuition that those who are more likely to get infected are the elderly. The report asserts that young and healthy adults are getting infected, too.
That said, H1N1 (influenza A) sounds a lot scarier than it actually is, and actually produces much milder symptoms than last year’s brutal H3N2 and influenza B.
A recent report by Global News and interview with a physician from the Canadian Center for Vaccinology asserts that flu season in Canada often comes in two phases, with different sub-types of the flu appearing at different times.
The first part of the flu season will see type A circulating (H1N1) and the second phase sees type B activity later in the winter months.
Although symptoms of both type A and type B flu will vary in intensity, the flu is never a walk in the park, and is sure to knock you out for a few days, even weeks, so it’s best to always take precautions against the flu virus.
The best way to do that is to get vaccinated. In Quebec, if you have private insurance you can get vaccinated with your family’s health care provider. If you don’t have insurance, you can get vaccinated at no cost at any integrated health and social services centers (CISSS) across the province.