Still time to get flu shots: Sherlock

Those at higher risk of flu complications include children under five, pregnant women, the elderly and those with chronic illnesses.

Twenty-four states and Guam were reporting widespread influenza activity - meaning the virus has spread to many parts of the state, regardless of severity - as of December 29, the latest date included in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) weekly flu report. Since September, Ottawa Public Health has recorded 77 lab-confirmed cases of the flu, similar to the amount seen at the same time previous year. Flu shots tend to work better against H1N1 than they do against H3N2, so higher early-season vaccination rates may mean that fewer people are getting sick.

Nearly half the cases in Ontario are the H1N1 strain which affects children, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada report.

With the start of the new year, flu season has been picking up across the country.

The hospital has not set a date when they anticipate to lift the restriction, but said that they will continue monitoring news about the flu season and then assess whether it will be safe to welcome children visitors back.

There have been 1,723 lab confirmed cases of the flu since September 1.

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The timing of seasonal flu outbreaks vary and can begin as early as late October.

Flu activity in ME is characterized by the Centers for Disease Control as local and minimal but the numbers are growing.

"So we're probably on track to coming up to more of our peak activity in the next couple of weeks or so".

The CDC recommends that everyone 6-months-old and older get a flu shot every year. These tests are rapid, like the name suggests but depending on the actual strain of the virus going around they can have varying success in properly identifying the flu.

"Don't linger. Run, do not walk, and get your influenza vaccine because it does take 10 days to 2 weeks for the body to build up its maximum protection", said Schaffner.

And, Sherlock says, "It's not too late to get a flu shot".

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