Sneezes and sniffles: Sask. flu season may have peaked

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Hospitalizations are also on the rise, particularly among adults over the age of 50 and children under the age of 5.

Williamson and Hays counties each have reported more than 700 flu cases but no flu deaths.

It can be hard to tell in real time where a flu season will fall on the severity scale, because sometimes reports of influenza hospitalization and deaths - especially deaths among children - lag.

Most importantly, he says, people still need to get their flu shot. Vaccinations are available at Kentucky's local health departments, pharmacies and medical providers, and many health plans cover the cost of the vaccine with no copay.

The Iowa Department of Public Information released the information Friday morning.

This year's flu season has been dominated by a particularly nasty bug, and health officials say it has now reached nearly every corner of the country.

Jernigan projected this year will be worse than the 2012-13 flu season, during which H3N2 was prevalent and there were about 56,000 estimated deaths.

The most common flu strain identified in Kentucky is Influenza A, said Dr. Jonathan Ballard, the state epidemiologist.

Infection with the flu virus can cause fever, headache, cough, sore throat, runny nose, sneezing and body aches. The flu can lead to complications like pneumonia, dehydration and worsening of chronic medical conditions.

This year's flu shot is not a flawless match for the strain of H3N2 now circulating, so people may become sick when they are exposed the virus, even if they received a flu shot. By following the precautions above, area hospitals hope to limit the spread of the flu. On a map of the United States tracking flu activity, "this is the first year that we have had the entire continental U.S.be the same color", he noted.

Through Jan. 6, the number of flu cases in Allegheny County totaled 1,842 and Westmoreland County had 658, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

· Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for 20 seconds. This should include avoiding going to work, school and other public places while ill, and limiting visits to people in nursing homes or hospitals.

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