Unfortunately, the Maritimes have the worst new year so far. In New Brunswick, there are double the cases of flu compared to last year, and there have already been three deaths.
Because the flu season began earlier, the number of people getting the flu shot didn’t increase despite this year’s flu strain is dangerous.
According to the chief officer of health Dr. Jennifer Russell in New Brunswick, the flu season started earlier and “the numbers that we’re seeing right now we would normally see at the end of January.”
Between August and December, the numbers show 579 lab-confirmed cases, 71 hospitalizations, and three deaths. In the rest of the Maritimes, the numbers are lower. For example, in Nova Scotia, there were no deaths, only 32 confirmed cases, and 20 hospitalizations. On Prince Edward Island, things are much better: 20 cases, 5 hospitalizations, and no deaths.
The Dominant Strain in the Flu Bug is H1N1 – Young People At Risk
This year’s dominant strain found in the flu bug is H1N1 – the same strain that 10 years ago the WHO had to declare a pandemic, as hundreds of thousands of people died because of the virus. The strain hasn’t been seen in decades before 2009, so people were less immune to it.
However, according to Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Robert Strang, we shouldn’t worry about it so much:
“H1N1 appeared for the first time in a long time back in 2009, but it’s been part of our regular flu season since then.”
While adults have become somewhat immune to it, children haven’t, explains Dr. Jennifer Russell:
“The number of hospitalizations, most of them are under the age of 65, and about 18 per cent of them are children 10 years or younger.”
But even if people were immunized in 2009, they should get this year’s flu shot. At the moment, less than 50% of people in Nova Scotia got the flu shot.
Curtis Chafe who is the chair of the board for the Pharmacy Association Of Nova Scotia and a pharmacist, explains that it is very important to get “everybody vaccinated as much as we can to help protect everybody else.”
How to Avoid Getting the Flu?
We must also make sure we wash our hands of the flu, cough and sneeze in our sleeves if we have the flu and stay home.
Anyone that has a chronic health condition is vulnerable to the flu.
According to Health Canada, as of 15 December, 22 people have died across Canada from the flu.
Rex Austinwas born and raised in Thunder Bay Ontario on the shores of Lake Superior. Apart from running his own podcast (Ice Fishing And Other “Cool” Things), he spends his time canoeing and backpacking in Northern Ontario.. As a journalist Rex has published stories for Global News (Thunder Bay) we well as Buzz Feed and Joystiq. As a contributor to Great Lakes Ledger, Rex most covers science and health stories. Contact Rexhere