January 11, 2018 7:14 pm

‘One death so far’: Influenza season hits Nova Scotia

According to medical professionals, the dominant influenza strain that’s hitting Canada this season is H3. It’s a strain that “historically produces more severe illness.”

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The flu season is ramping up and medical professionals are urging people that it’s not too late to protect themselves.

Every year, about 4,000 Canadians die from complications linked to the flu virus, according to health statistics.

“We’ve had one death so far this year, that is unfortunate but it’s certainly expected,” Dr. Robert Strang said, the Nova Scotia Chief Medical Officer of Health.

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“Our overall message is that the flu is here but it’s not too late to get a flu shot. It’s still your best way to protect yourself against flu.”

READ MORE: The flu season in Canada is getting pretty nasty; here is everything you need to know

According to Halifax pharmacist, Peter Jorna, many people have opted to get their free vaccine already.

Every fall, Jorna says the province rolls out the vaccines that are anticipated to be effective for the upcoming season.

“The dominant strain of influenza that’s going around, the vaccine is only about 10 per cent effective for that so there is a bit of a misalignment with the vaccine versus the flu that’s spreading around. Ten per cent is better than zero per cent and there’s no cost,” said Jorna.

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The ultimate level of effectiveness depends on the strain of flu that eventually hits the province.

Influenza moves across the country from west to east.

This year’s strain is seemingly more powerful than the vaccine available but medical professionals say some protection is still better than none.

“The H3 strain is the main strain and that historically produces more severe illness, especially in the elderly and there’s a number of reasons for that. One of which is that you tend to get less protection from the vaccine but not zero protection,” Dr. Strang said.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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