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Two dozen Maine nursing homes report flu outbreaks, severe season predicted

It is understood that the flu was a factor in the sudden death of 33-year-old Co Tyrone teacher Christopher Colhoun, who passed away on Monday after falling ill at the weekend. The predominant strain is one of the harsher ones. The deaths this season are also higher compared to the 2014-2015 season, where there were 16 deaths up until this point in the flu season.

The MHD report shows a decrease in cases of influenza-like illnesses for the coastal counties in Region 9 between the last week of 2017 and the first week of 2018. That's up slightly from 51 hospitalizations during the previous week.

"This is a bad flu season", Dr. Dan Jernigan, director of the influenza division of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said in a conference call Friday. The state agency didn't provide specific ages. "The vast majority of this activity has been caused by influenza A H3N2, associated with severe illness in young children and people 65 years and older".

After getting off to a quick start, this year's flu season is shaping up to be particularly nasty. Across the country, more than 80 percent of cases this season involve a different, nastier strain, H3N2 - the same strain that plagued Australian during its flu season. The last time the flu was this severe was three years ago.

Still, medical professionals say that the best defense is the vaccine itself. Dr. Eugenia Bacani, with Memorial Hermann Medical Group, has been a physician for 30 years. Symptoms include a cough, sore throat, aches and fever.

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Cases of students with flu-like symptoms were worse between Thanksgiving and Christmas break, a nursing supervisor with the Boise district said.

· Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. We're still enrolling patients in our study sites and at this time, we're using laboratory data to try to suggest how well our vaccines may work.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), flu activity is now widespread in most of the United States. There are antivirals such as Tamiflu or Relenza that can help treat the flu, but the medication needs to be taken within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms to be effective.

Because scientists have to predict months in advance what strains of flu will be circulating, the flu shot doesn't protect against all strains. Flu season typically peaks December through February but can last until May, and it usually takes about two weeks for the shot's immunity to kick in. Bennett said Maine's population is more sparse, which may help prevent flu from spreading.

Meanwhile, some are finding cold and flu relief in other ways, such as intravenous therapy. "That reduces your potential to spread the illness". Those are two of the key ways the CDC monitors the severity of a flu season.

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