Flu season blamed for packed emergency rooms, ambulance backlogs in California

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At the UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica, for example, over 200 patients come in daily, majority for flu cases. Dr.

The latest Public Health Agency of Canada FluWatch report, which covers the final two weeks of 2017, shows influenza activity keeps rising, hitting those 65 and older the hardest and causing outbreaks primarily at long-term-care facilities. That was not expected to be the type of flu most people would be experiencing, but that doesn't mean the flu shot is ineffective. Locally, roughly a third of the confirmed cases recorded by Douglas County health officials so far this season came in last week. He said influenza is especially unsafe for the elderly, who are at greater risk of developing pneumonia or other complications along with the flu - conditions that could be fatal when combined.

In this graph from the Oklahoma State Department of Health, you can see the percentage of positive flu hospitalizations in 2017- 2018 year in blue is higher than the 2015 and 2016 years.

Dr. Tom Safranek, Nebraska's state epidemiologist, said the number of cases health officials are seeing is comparable to the peak numbers they've seen in other years - and they're still going up.

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About 38 percent of this season's flu-related intensive care unit admissions happened during the last week of December, according to the IDPH.

The Metro Public Health Department will be giving free shots on a walk-in basis from 8 a.m. -3:30 p.m.at all three health department locations, East Health Center, 1015 E. Trinity Lane, Lentz Health Center, 2500 Charlotte Ave., and Woodbine Health Center, 224 Oriel Ave. "I think we're just seeing the beginning of it right now", she said of the flu.

The most frequently identified influenza virus type being reported this year is influenza A, according to the CDC.

"Influenza, like many other viruses, tends to mutate and change", Dr. Chopra said, explaining the challenges of perfecting a vaccine that must be composed several months before a given flu season begins.

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The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also issued an alert last week for health care providers, stressing the importance of using antiviral drugs such as Tamiflu as early as possible to treat people who are very ill with flu and those at high risk of serious flu complications.

Can I get seasonal flu even though I got a flu vaccine this year? A primary tool in that defense remains the influenza vaccine, which changes every year to better match new strains of influenza on the attack.

"Washing your hands, covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze and get your flu shot", Maynard said.

■ Avoid Contact. Minimize the time spent at indoor public areas where people are tightly confined, and try to avoid contact completely with anyone who has the flu. "And stay at home if you're sick", Dennis said.

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