The swine flu influenza has resurfaced in Canada and it's hitting hard this year. Over 400 Canadians have already been hospitalized from the H1N1 virus this flu season and 24 people have even died from influenza. The Government of Canada confirmed that the virus is back and is highly prominent this time.
This flu season, there have been 414 hospitalizations due to influenza, which includes 71 intensive care unit admissions, CTV News reports. According to the recent government data, those numbers are over double last year's figures.
It's been ten years since the H1N1 strand of the flu virus was significantly problematic in the nation. It caused a major pandemic back in 2009. The particular strand of H1N1 hitting Canadians this year is similar to the problematic thread in 2009.
It has been several years since this particular H1N1 strand has affected Canadians, but the Public Health Agency of Canada warns Canadians that were previously infected that they most likely won't have immunity to it anymore and could be hit again by the virus.
"The severe illness that we’re seeing is unexpected, and to be honest, unprecedented from previous years," Dr. Tanya Holt, head of pediatric intensive care at the Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon, told CTV News. "We’re seeing more admissions to the intensive care unit and what we know is that the kids that have been admitted to the ICU, none of them have had the vaccine."
With the high number of hospitalizations due to the H1N1 flu virus this season, Canadian hospitals have been feeling the pressure. "We’ve almost had a doubling of presentations to the emergency department and that’s caused… prolonged wait times for patients who are coming for evaluation,” Dr. Harley Eisman, medical director of the hospital’s pediatric emergency service, told CTV News.
"Our peak numbers have been over 300 patients a day. (The) sweet spot for an emergency like ours is about 200 patients a day, so we’ve really seen an increase in volumes," he added.
The Public Health Agency of Canada's data reveals that the flu season hasn't even peaked yet, despite the virus hitting many Canadians hard. This means that more people will be prone to the H1N1 flu in the coming weeks.
Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, advises Canadians to get vaccinated. "This particular virus is a match to the strain contained in this year’s influenza vaccine," she told CTV News. "I do encourage Canadians over the age of six months to get the vaccine. It’s not too late".
How can you detect the H1N1 virus? Symptoms are often similar to what you normally experience with other flu viruses. You could get hit with a fever and muscle pain, as well as experiencing other typical cold symptoms like headaches, a cough, a sore throat, nausea, and a stuffy nose. The Canadian government recommends seeking medical attention if flu symptoms get worse.