Flu season hits peak in P.A.’s health region

By Teena Monteleone
January 9, 2017 - 12:00pm

Social gatherings like Christmas and New Year’s, plus the onset of very cold weather, means flu season is far from over.

Dr. Khami Chokani, the Medical Health Officer for the Prince Albert Parkland Health Region, said more cases are just starting to pop up.

“The season has essentially ramped up. I think we are in the peak…which will remain steady for a couple of weeks,” Chokani said.

So far, there have been 25 lab confirmed cases of influenza in the health region but Chokani said doctors don’t require lab tests from every patient presenting flu like symptoms. 

“Just because you have a respiratory illness doesn’t mean the doctor will take a swab. In many cases, doctors will assume, based on the clinical presentation, that this is what the person is suffering from and treat them accordingly,” Chokani added.

Health officials encourage travelers heading to warmer climates to get a flu shot. Viruses can spread easily and mutate when you travel abroad.

It’s not just influenza doctors are keeping an eye on. Chokani said another virus called RSV, or Respiratory Syncytial Virus, is causing concern. It is a respiratory virus that can cause lingering injuries to the lungs. Although it is usually seen in children, the medical health officer said it is appearing in more adults.

“Out of the five positives we had, only one was in a child. The other four were in adults,” Chokani said.

There is a vaccine for RSV, but is only available for a specific age group. According to Chokani, the best prevention is to wash your hands.


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