We are officially a quarter of the way through the 24-week flu season in Canada. Flu season typically runs from November and continues to April. Although 3 strains of Influenza A, B, and C. These strains will mutate over time creating sub strains making the types of flu you can catch almost infinite. Canadian vaccinations this year offer coverage for Influenza A and Influenza B.
Each year an estimated 10-20% of the population catch influenza according to Canadian Public Health. That’s 3.5 million to 7 million people infected each year. Out of that portion of the population 12,200 hospitalizations related to influenza and approximately 3,500 deaths attributable to influenza occur.
Signs and symptoms can change from person to person but the most common are high fever, chills, sore throat, cough and sore muscles. Other common symptoms include headache, loss of appetite, fatigue, and a runny nose. Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea may also occur, especially in children. Most people will recover within a week or ten days.
Certain people are at higher risk if they contract the flu and they are:
- Pregnant women
- Heart and breathing problems
- Kidney disease
- Morbid obesity (BMI≥40);
- People who are residents of nursing homes and other chronic care facilities
- People 65 years of age and older
- All children 6 months to 5 years old
Ontario citizens can receive the flu shot free of charge any time during the flu season. This is one of a very few voluntary immunizations available to the Ontario population. When deciding whether to be immunized or not, always consider other family members that may be exposed to the influenza that you bring home.