Outpatient flu visits spike as more states note high activity

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The number of confirmed flu cases in Arizona so far this season is up by more than 750% compared to a year ago.

Officials with the South Dakota Department of Health say a Day County resident in their 70s has died from the flu.

As of December 16, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services had received 4,363 reports of influenza A statewide, and 1,300 reports of influenza B, with 52 unknown or untyped cases, for a total of 5,715.

The flu is on the rise in Hamilton, prompting the city's public health services to renew calls for people to get vaccinated.

∫ Children 12 and under will be prohibited from visiting patients' rooms, as they are more likely to have and transmit respiratory infections. Those viruses are especially hard on older people and H3 seasons generally are more severe that seasons when H1N1 or influenza B viruses are dominant.

Influenza is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses.

Last week, there was a big jump in the number of cases reported by the medical community. Like a year ago, the vaccine is only offered in the form of shots.

The WRHA said three cases have been confirmed at the Children's Hospital were identified within a seven-day period recently. Patients who have other health conditions that predispose them to getting very sick when they contract influenza should be prescribed anti-viral drugs, he said.

Australia's bad flu season has been dominated by the H3N2 strain.

For people with confirmed or suspected influenza, particular those who are at high risk for complications, it's important to seek treatment with influenza antiviral medications as close to the onset of illness as possible. "Flu season can last for another couple months".

Symptoms of flu include cough, congestion, fever, aches, chills and fatigue, and usually can be managed at home with rest and fluids, she said. Avoiding contact with ill people, getting a flu shot and covering your nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing also help control the spread. Experts say the vaccine may only be between 10-to-32 percent effective, but you should still get it.

The vaccine is available free from most pharmacists, family doctors, family practice nurses and nurse practitioners.