Peterborough Public Health officials are warning we could be facing one of the worst flu seasons in years, as we’re already seeing a higher number of flu cases than this time last year.
The health team reports there are 89 lab-confirmed cases of influenza but suggests this number could be greater since many sufferers don’t seek medical care.
“Of the 89 lab-confirmed cases that we have received so far this year, 51 of those cases were influenza strain A and then 37 of those were influenza strain B and one case had both A and B,” said PPH communications director Brittany Cadence.
Typically, strain B shows up later in the flu season, and so its early appearance suggests this flu season could be a brutal one.
“This flu season is presenting itself as a very robust flu season here in Peterborough as it has across the province,” said Cadence. “So far, there have been five long-term care facilities in an outbreak.”
Pharmacist Magdy Kamar says he’s seeing the usual flow of customers for over-the-counter remedies but advises the first step in protecting yourself and those around you is to get the flu shot, adding that the fear you can get the flu from a flu shot, are simply unfounded.
“This is not a live vaccine, so you can never get it,” he said. “It’s like an attenuated virus or like a dead virus. It’s just there to boost your immunity.”
Meanwhile, some are finding cold and flu relief in other ways, such as intravenous therapy.
At the Peterborough Centre of Naturopathic Medicine, Dr. Brenda Tapp says IV treatment is becoming more mainstream.
“A lot of people take supplements orally — they’ll take vitamin C orally or magnesium orally but you don’t absorb as much of it as you do when you get it intravenously,” said Tapp.
“Sometimes, people will pop vitamin C for a week or longer and still feel sick, but when you get it intravenously, you’ll literally, within a couple of hours, start to feel better.”
Flu vaccines are available through health-care providers and pharmacists.