Canadian Hospitals Hit Hard with New Strain of Flu

Every year, influenza comes into season and often leads to outbreaks, epidemics, and general widespread illness. Vaccination has come a long way, and often allows many of us to avoid the disease altogether, but due to a mistake made during the creation of this year’s vaccine, influenza may spread more quickly than usual. Now is a great time to explore health insurance or even life insurance, because influenza can be very dangerous, and it looks like it’s going to be a bigger issue in 2015. Free health quotes are available, and information about how to avoid the disease and stay safe should be easy to find.

Emergency rooms across Ontario and the Toronto area of Canada are very quickly filling up with patients presenting flu-like symptoms, increasing ER visits by 40% at some hospitals. Lakeridge Health’s Emergency and Critical Care department, led by Dr. Benjamin Fuller, has been hit particularly hard at each of its emergency rooms located across Bowmanville, Oshwa, and Port Perry.

Fuller says that about one third of the 1,000 daily ER patients are presenting flu-like symptoms, forcing the hospital itself to open nearly 50 extra beds. Staffing has also been increased, but since many of the hospital’s staff is out sick with the flu, many employees at the hospital are assigned 14 to 16 hours shifts to help fight against the non-stop barrage of patients. Dr. Doug Sider of Public Health Ontario sympathizes with ERs in the area, saying that many of the emergency rooms in his own province are just as overwhelmed.

So why is the flu so widespread in Canada? It’s due to a mismatch in the vaccine creation process. The vaccine was made to target a certain variety of the flu, but an entirely different variety is running rampant, lowering the vaccine’s effectiveness rate to about 50%. This isn’t anyone’s fault – the disease can mutate during the months it takes to create and distribute a vaccine – but citizens of both Canada and the United States should prepare for a particularly nasty flu season. This year’s strain of the disease is a mutation of Influenza A that can cause more serious and life-threatening illnesses than the average strain of the flu. Luckily, the tenacity of this disease means that stopping it is a very high priority and flu season as we know it may not last as long this year.

What are some steps you follow to stay healthy during flu season? What should Americans do to prepare themselves for the possibility of a more dangerous strain? Let us know in the comments section below and help keep your fellow readers healthy!