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Flu season likely to peak in the coming weeks

Flu season likely to peak in the coming weeks”

"We're trying to be proactive". The report also indicated 83 new hospitalizations across Oklahoma. The following week, that number more than doubled to 140 positive cases.

Bieluch specializes in infectious diseases at the Hospital of Central Connecticut. More than 3,000 health care providers participated in 2010.

Officials say flu vaccine helps prevent infection for individuals who receive it and helps keeps others healthy by making it harder for the virus to spread.

The WRHA encourages anyone who doesn't have a chronic health condition or respiratory problems who is experiencing flu symptoms to stay home, rest and drink plenty of fluids.

Cases of influenza have continued to spike each day for the past 10 days, said Lori Lamont, acting chief operating officer and vice-president of nursing and allied health for the WRHA.

Two people have died from influenza in McLean County, and area hospitals are taking precautions to make sure the infection doesn't spread to their patients.

The CDC estimates that influenza has resulted in up to 710,000 hospitalizations and 56,000 deaths every year since 2010. That's the way health officials measure the severity of flu season.

Complete information on influenza can be found on the health unit's website. Amendments to the regulations allow for the removal of masks when health care workers are accompanying patients in the community, providing speech therapy services, or communicating with persons who lip read.

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The main difference between the two types of influenza is that outbreaks of type B tend to occur less frequently than type A, though both have the capability to cause serious illness. Peak influenza activity in the USA usually occurs during December through February, but there can be substantial influenza activity up until the month of May. It is not too late to get vaccinated, and there are reportedly ample amounts of the vaccine available. Sometimes the vaccine doesn't match up well against the current viruses - this year it's H3N2 and variations of the B strain, Strang said.

Last year, the USA flu vaccine was about 42 percent effective.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends flu shots annually for everyone at least 6 months old.

Avoid close contact with sick people.

Scientists are searching for a universal vaccine that would work against a wide variety of influenza viruses.

Individuals and families without health insurance should check with their county health department to find out if local clinics will be held to provide free or low-priced vaccinations.

But even a less effective vaccine is better than no vaccine at all, he said.

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