Flu deaths hit new record, topping 300 in state this season

by Noah Mcgee March 16, 2018, 0:50
Flu deaths hit new record, topping 300 in state this season

Twenty of Alberta's 84 flu-related deaths were in Central Alberta this season, according to the latest statistics from Alberta Health Services.

The prior week there were 18 deaths, while there's been a steady decline in weekly deaths since 46 were recorded three weeks ago.

Influenza is an infection of the nose, throat, and lungs caused by a virus that is spread through the air.

"The increased number of reported deaths is the result of the severe flu season we are having, but is also due to better surveillance methods, which allow the county to more easily identify and classify flu fatalities", said Dr. Wilma Wooten, county public health officer.

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Flu season continues until mid-May. At this time past year, just 68 deaths were reported. Some people - such as older people, young children and people with certain health conditions - are at high risk for serious flu complications. The flu season can run into May.

Both the cold and flu are viruses, meaning they can not be "cured" by antibiotics, and both will abate on their own timetables. "I want to encourage folks to just take time to do the simple things a couple of times a day and wash your hands with warm soapy water and it will help minimize the spread of the flu". The "stomach flu" as it's commonly known, is usually viral gastroenteritis, and is unrelated to either the common cold or influenza.

The flu virus is most commonly passed to others in classrooms, shared living spaces and by close contact with people who show symptoms of the flu. The flu tends to have a faster onset of symptoms, which can include fevers as high as 104 F, chills, exhaustion and severe aches. Of those deaths, 98 were among patients over the age of 65.

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