US flu season poised to be milder than last year's

Only Winnipeg region has had more flu cases than Northern Manitoba this season

According to the Florida Department of Health, there was an uptick in the number of flu cases reported in the first week of this year, but overall the numbers are down from the last flu season.

Six people have died from the flu in Saskatchewan so far, with three of those victims being children less than six years old.

"We're seeing between 120 to 150 cases per week over the last few weeks", said medical health officer Dr. Karin Goodison.

These estimates are cumulative and will be updated over the course of the annual flu season on Fridays.

Almost the entire state of Alabama is experiencing "widespread" flu activity, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health, indicating that flu season has entered its most virulent period.

Death estimates for adults who contracted the flu are not yet available, but as of late December, the CDC said that about 6% of deaths nationwide were due to influenza or pneumonia.

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The H1N1 virus is the predominant strain circulating in Canada and the US this flu season.

Chances are you probably know someone who is sick, but doctors and pharmacists say vaccines can be given even to those who already feel sick or are coughing. That said, it is still not possible to tell how severe the 2018-2019 flu season will be on the whole, and it is still affecting many lives.

The U.S. saw one of the worst flu outbreaks in almost a decade during the 2017-2018 season, with more than 900,000 cases of hospitalizations and over 80,000 deaths, the CDC estimates. Between 69,300 and 83,500 people have been hospitalized because of the virus.

"Here's another proactive step you can take to protect your baby", Gupta said of a flu shot. Seasonal flu epidemics occur yearly during the colder months. This year - in Saskatchewan at least - he said children with flu symptoms should see a health professional right away.

Especially in homes with young children, Murti recommends the flu vaccine for everyone in the household, including siblings, parents and grandparents.

Experts say it's not too late to reap the benefits of a flu vaccine. "It also would very likely be a much more effective vaccine than the ones we have to make each year, hoping that we guess accurately as to what the influenza virus that season will be".

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