With a spike in the number of flu cases across the country, it’s been a busy time for some pharmacies in Regina.
“We have a lot of patients that come in with the typical flu symptoms,” pharmacist Jarron Yee said. “They may have a headache, coughing and an overall feeling of tiredness.”
Saskatchewan has seen 1,029 lab-confirmed cases since the beginning of September. During the same time last year, that number was 590.
The province has also seen 33 outbreaks in long-term health care facilities.
“We think we have likely peaked,” Saskatchewan’s deputy chief medical health officer Dr. Denise Werker said. “We will know better in the next couple of weeks.”
If that happens, Werker says this flu season could be similar to last year.
“I would say this season seems to be pretty typical, there’s nothing unusual occurring,” she said.
Meanwhile, Alberta has seen nearly 5,800 confirmed cases with 31 flu-related deaths. In Saskatchewan, three people have died from the flu this season.
The two strains of flu making the rounds are A and B, and current levels of influenza B are showing up much earlier than usual.
The strains have different genetic make-ups and affect age demographics differently.
“H3N2 generally affects younger children and seniors,” Werker said. “They don’t have the immunity, they have not been previously exposed to that virus.”
Despite concerns that the flu shot isn’t as effective this year, health officials say it’s too early to confirm.
People are also being reminded to still get the flu shot if they haven’t done so already.
“You may be in contact with someone who has a lower immune system and you can pass it along to that person,” Yee said. “As well, there’s always a chance you will get the flu so if you don’t want the flu, I’d definitely recommend getting the flu shot.”
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