Call it bird flu. Call the swine flu. Call it what you want – just know that this year H1N1 flu is back and targeting children and adults.
And this winter, H1N1 is increasing in the northern hemisphere, prompting Northern Health to remind people that it is not too late to be vaccinated against the flu.
"We know that viruses spread more easily during the high season for these diseases and that some people, such as the elderly and people of any age with underlying medical conditions, are at greater risk for complications," said Dr. Rakel Kling.
"It's not too late for people to take the flu vaccine, which this year proved to be a good combination with the strains of the virus circulating."
Last year and the year before, there were serious epidemics due to the H3N2 type of influenza A virus. This year, influenza A type H1N1 is mainly circulating.
Both cause similar illnesses with fever, cough, pain and fatigue, but H3N2 viruses are more difficult for the elderly, while H1N1 viruses tend to affect more children and non-elderly adults.
This season's vaccine protects against H3N2 and H1N1 viruses, as well as against influenza B.
The Centers for Disease Control (BCCDC) advised particularly high-risk individuals and their contacts to be vaccinated.
High-risk individuals are those with underlying medical conditions, such as heart and lung disease, or those with weakened immune systems that make it difficult to fight respiratory infections.
"Children and non-elderly adults with underlying medical conditions may need special protection. They should be vaccinated and so owe their close contacts, "said BCCDC chief influenza officer Dr. Danuta Skowronski.
"Because it takes about two weeks for the influenza vaccine to induce protection, now is the time for high-risk individuals and their close contacts to get vaccinated, if they have not already.
In addition to vaccination, there are other measures people can take to reduce their own risk and minimize the spread of flu and other viruses to others.
* Wash your hands often, especially if you are in public.
* Avoid touching your face, especially your eyes, mouth and nose.
* Cough and sneeze at your elbow.
* If you use a tissue, be sure to dispose of it properly and wash your hands.
* If you do not feel good, stay home,
so you do not pass the infection on to others.
, especially those who may be at greater risk.
* If you are in close contact with people at higher risk for serious flu complications, get the vaccine and do not visit it if you do not feel well.
"Influenza is a truly bad gift for anyone to receive. If you get sick with a flu-like illness this holiday season, stay home. Do not give this miserable disease back to others, "Dr. Skowronski advised.