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Flu season could be worse than usual in Comox Valley

This flu season could be a bad one, according to North Island Medical Health Officer Charmaine Enns.

She notes lab testing confirms more A/H3N2 strain influenza this year than in previous years.

"Essentially influenza seasons dominated by the A/H3N2 strain tend to be worse, i.e. people get sicker than those seasons dominated by A/H1N1 or influenza type B," Enns said in an e-mail.

"On the other hand, this year’s influenza vaccine is a good match to the influenza viruses in circulation."

She also noted it can be hard to determine what the flu season will be like in advance.

Enns says the annual influenza vaccine is the most effective way to protect against contracting and transmitting the influenza virus.

"This is followed by hand-washing, hand-washing and hand-washing," she added. "Other effective strategies are staying home when you are sick and covering your mouth and nose when you sneeze and cough, preferably by using your upper arm."

For more information, including flu shot clinic schedules and locations, visit www.viha.ca/flu/public.

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