Marion County hospitals to temporarily restrict visitors due to high flu activity

The flu vaccine is drawn from the vile into the needle at Crawford Kids Clinic in Aurora Colorado

The flu vaccine is drawn from the vile into the needle at Crawford Kids Clinic in Aurora Colorado

"I think this year we can anticipate that emergency rooms, out-patient visits will be greater because younger people are being affected by H1N1, but the overall impact of serious outcomes should be less this year compared to the last couple of seasons".

Thirteen flu-related deaths have been reported nationally by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Ottawa Public Health officials warn that flu has not yet peaked and the level of influenza being seen in other parts of Canada could be coming to Ottawa.

Cadieux noted that flu season peaked early this year in Alberta, but has yet to peak in Ottawa. Most cases occurred in people under age 65.

"The graph of flu activity in our hospital is just increasing", he explains.

As of December 29, the most recent data available from the Public Health Agency of Canada shows there were 13,796 laboratory-confirmed influenza cases across the country, with the provinces and territories reporting 1,046 hospitalizations and 24 deaths.

The Children's Hospital of Wisconsin has announced a temporary ban on visitors under the age of 12 in the hopes that it will help stop the spread of the flu virus.

With illness spreading and months of flu season left to go, experts still recommend getting a flu shot. Severe complications of influenza infection include pneumonia which can lead to hospitalization and death.

The Marion County Public Health Department offers low-priced flu vaccine at its district health offices.

Pregnant women or people with medical conditions related to their heart, lungs or immune system are encouraged to ask their primary care provider about antiviral medication as soon as they get symptoms. Hospitals do not offer flu shots or routinely test for the flu.

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