According to Toronto Public Health for the week of December 10 to December 16, in its Weekly Influenza News summary, there were 33 new laboratory-confirmed cases of flu reported in the city.
This flu season, the CDC is only recommending the injectable flu vaccine, rather than the nasal spray. "Last year, we had a flu season that peaked in the first week of January so there was a lot of disease over Christmas". Those over the age of 65 years will receive the seasonal flu vaccine free of charge.
Hafiz stressed the importance of getting vaccinated, especially to protect the young, old and those with medical conditions.
Recently, flu and sinus medications seem to be in short supply at several local pharmacies, which begs the question have there been higher instances of the flu virus or are citizens simply "stocking up" on such medications in the vein of prevention is better than the cure?
The CDC says it is working to make a new, more effective flu vaccine that can withstand H3N2, but that it can take weeks or even months. But the egg-grown, the version of the vaccine that most people get, isn't quite as effective. MS and Alabama are included in those states reporting above average flu activity.
Centegra Health System's chief medical information officer and infectious disease specialist Irfan Hafiz said it is hard to predict how flu seasons might play out. "The flu vaccine has definitely gotten not the best publicity, and deservedly so", he said.
- clean and disinfect surfaces that may be contaminated.
But Dr. Holder says it is still a good idea to get the shot. The shot also usually protects you for up to a year, against the strain of the flu virus added to the vaccine you received, so you won't need another for 12 months.
23 states are considered to have widespread influenza activity, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. With the holidays in full swing, and families traveling and getting together, that is expected to get worse. While the vaccine's effectiveness can vary from year to year depending on what strain is going around, research continues to support the recommendation that working adults should get vaccinated every fall.