Laredo Health Department sees a rise in flu cases

A nurse administers a flu shot to an inmate at the Placer County Jail in this 2014

A nurse administers a flu shot to an inmate at the Placer County Jail in this 2014

Workers can't return to work until seven days after testing positive for flu. Marten said. "Patients experiencing acute symptoms should seek treatment at the nearest emergency department".

Julia Strange, vice president of communications for Tucson Medical Center, and Katie Riley, a spokeswoman for Banner University Medical Center, said they are seeing a large number of flu patients in their emergency rooms, but they've not experienced significant staffing shortages. But it's hard to compare one flu season with another, he said.

Locally, the department says so far they have confirmed 300 flu cases, which is down from the 400 they saw previous year. Past year at this time, there were 834 confirmed cases of the flu.

This is concerning for health officials, with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control reporting that "influenza activity increased sharply in the United States" during the second-to-last week of 2017.

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The health service has confirmed that the so-called "Aussie" flu has killed "less than 10 people" in Ireland so far.

According to Health Canada, influenza (the flu) is among the leading causes of death in Canada, causing more than 12,000 hospitalizations and 3,500 deaths annually.

Saunders said despite popular belief, cold weather has no effect making the flu worse or last longer.

It's January and, of course, the influenza season has begun.

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"Over the last two weeks we've had this real spike, we've doubled our numbers in the last week, so that's very typical", he said.

And if you do get a flu shot? "They find people who have actually come down with the flu and they ask them 'did you get the flu shot?' People don't always remember three or four months back, and if they do remember then they don't recall just when they got it, so it all depends on how the information is gathered". "This is one of the reasons that we offer and promote immunizations and manage influenza outbreaks the way we do", she said.

Odd had some other advice.

She also stressed the importance of staying home instead of going into work if you're sick, for your own protection and the protection of others.

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Doctors suggest hand washing, covering your cough and cleaning commonly touched surfaces.

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