It appears the worst of the flu season may be over in Saskatchewan.
The numbers peaked during the Christmas week. So far this season, there have been 1029 lab-confirmed cases.
Once again seniors, children and those with compromised immune systems were the most vulnerable to the flu.
The province’s health professionals describe this year’s flu season as average, the only surprise is that it started earlier than expected in November.
“There are huge variations of when the flu activity starts and finishes and when it will peak each year,” Doctor Denise Werker, deputy chief medical health officer, confirmed. “We think we have likely peaked we will know better in a couple of weeks when the lab reports from the holiday season.”
Roughly 270,000 people took advantage of the free flu shot, 20,000 less than last year. Werker noted the criticism about the effectiveness of this year’s flu shot.
“Even when there is a good match between the influenza strains that circulate and those that are used in the vaccine, there is a difference in its effectiveness,” Werker explained. “It is generally less for H3N2 than it is for H1N1 or influenza B.”
The prominent strain in this year’s flu season was H3N2.
There were jokes from the media that Werker was taking questions instead of her colleague Doctor Saqib Shahab, the province’s chief medical health officer, who was home sick.
“We always joke with him and the fact that he is at home is a good thing,” Werker said. “I’m not sure if he has influenza but he certainly has a respiratory virus. I don’t know if he got the flu vaccine.”
The advice from Werker, Shahab and others is to stay home when you’re sick, cough into your sleeve and always wash your hands.