Health officials encourage Albertans to get their 'very effective' flu shot

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See your doctor for a flu shot or visit the Stamford Health Department's Clinic at 137 Henry Street, where shots are still available.

"Last year's flu season was notable for the severity, the number of people affected and the rate of hospitalizations", said Dr. Caitlin Pedati, state epidemiologist and medical director of the Iowa Department of Public Health.

"We're past the peak here and we're on the downslope", she said of B.C.

It's still early, but the current influenza (flu) season is shaping up to be gentler than last winter's unusually brutal one.

So far this flu season, Kansas has seen 11 deaths from the flu.

Commonly called the flu, the Centers for Disease Control website says the influenza season generally begins in October and can last through May. "We'd like to have another 20 or 30 more if we could, particularly we need more representation in the north of the province", he said.

Flu hospitalizations across the state are almost identical to last year but there have been more influenza-related deaths this year compared to last year during the same week, Warner said in the email.

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Thirty-six states are now reporting widespread geographical flu activity.

However, the H3N2 virus, another kind of influenza A virus, which dominated influenza spread a year ago, played havoc in the southeastern region of the country.

According to the BC CDC, the H1N1 virus tends to have the most effect children and non-elderly adults, while the H3N2 strain is more of a problem for the elderly.

As for whether this season has been weaker than others, Henry says it depends on how you look at it, pointing out younger people are better able to fight the virus.

Infection with the flu presents a higher risk of serious complications and possible death for certain groups of individuals including young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions, and persons 65 years and older, the department said.

It is not too late for Iowans to receive a flu shot if they have not already done so, Pedati said. "But the other important things are to wash your hands regularly, cover your mouth when you cough, and stay home and away from others if you're sick".

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