2017-18 flu season expected to be one of worst in years

Administering a flu vaccination to a patient is Terri Buratczuk clinical director of the Tri City Health Partnership a free health clinic in St. Charles that provides services for those who are uninsured or underinsured

The Dallas County Health and Human Services (DCHHS) confirmed seven more flu-related deaths on Tuesday, bringing the total in that county this season to 18.

From Colquitt and Tift Regional Medical Center to Phoebe Putney Memorial, hospitals are starting to see cases of the flu.

Flu activity traditionally begins to increase in October and can last as late as May, with cases typically peaking between December and February.

The number of people testing positive for influenza also is significantly higher than in past years across the state and nation.

Ruth Gratton, manager of infectious diseases at the health unit, said that number is not unusual for this time of year. Another factor is a fear of getting the flu from the vaccine. "It's not possible to say precisely when this flu season will peak or end or how severe it will be".

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Canada's flu shot was less effective than usual this year, said the National Post.

A CDC official told "Good Morning America" this flu season reached its peak about a month earlier than normal.

"We try to be sensitive and practical", said Kitchen. "That way, more people in the community are vaccinated".

An unusually bad flu season predicted by some experts hasn't hit the Brantford area.

The antiviral medications work best when started within two days of the onset of symptoms; even after two days, these medications can be beneficial. This is especially true for those most likely to suffer complications of the flu such as the elderly, chronically ill, and young children. The South has been suffering with flu for several weeks, and it may have peaked there, she said.

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Fairfield County Health Department communicable disease nurse Tiffany Nash did not have access to actual case numbers in the county.

Riley says he remembers the last time there was an outbreak at a school a couple years back, explaining parents pulled not only the sick kids away from school, but the healthy ones.

Vaccine manufacturers, the World Health Organization and others are studying the situation to determine if that was the case, she said.

"Coming to the ER is perfectly fine, but there's always other places that you can go - primary care, doctor's office, and urgent care are always great options, and obviously if you're feeling really sick, you should come to the ER to get checked out", said Dr. Sampath Medepalli, a physician for Mercy Health St. Rita's.

More information about flu prevention, symptoms and treatment are on the state's website.

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