Flu deaths rise in Iowa

UPDATE Unprecedented steps taken by local hospitals because of escalating flu

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- This year's flu season is a brutal one and now more than a dozen hospitals are taking steps to protect patients.

Bad flu season in U.S.

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On Monday, The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority announced dozens of elective surgeries would be cancelled to accommodate influenza patients. This year we do have a vaccine.

In all, 218 people died during the 2016-17 flu season, most occurring from mid-February through mid-April.

Canada-wide, there have been 54 flu-related deaths so far this winter. In the first ten days of January, there have already been 150 more cases.

Of the more than 100 people who have died from the flu so far this season, 13 are children. Over half of these (378) were in the 65-plus age group.

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Experts believe that fatalities could triple within two weeks - making the flu outbreak officially an "epidemic" in parts of Britain.

"Before snack time, before meal times, before and after potty", Rachel Sherman, a teacher at the Jewish Council for Youth Services Early Childcare Center, told CBS Chicago. Researchers indicate exposing one's self to others is a highly effective means of spreading the illness. "[The flu] took out a few of our classes and even teachers".

"These personal losses are a reminder for all of us that flu can be a serious illness, for young and old alike", said Public Health Commissioner Dr. Jeffrey D. Howard. Officials said the number of cases are up by about 50 percent compared to a year ago.

Across the country, it's a similar situation. The hospital is modifying its visitation policy temporarily to protect patients, staff and the community.

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A person receives the seasonal influenza vaccine (flu shot). The state typically sees three or four such deaths by this time in the season, officials said.

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"If you are eligible for the flu vaccine, get it now - contact your GP practice to book into a flu clinic".

A planned conference to discuss the threat of nuclear attack will be rescheduled so public health officials can focus on the immediate threat of the flu, the Centers for Disease Control and Protection said Friday.

"We are seeing an influx locally and across the state for tested and proven cases of influenza at emergency rooms and doctors' offices", Barry Honeycutt, director of operations for the Sullivan County Regional Health Department, said Friday afternoon.

You can get the flu anywhere - school, work, even out at the store, so you need to know the do's and don'ts for avoiding the virus.

"Fever-you don't necessarily always get that with other respiratory illnesses". Use a tissue or cough or sneeze into the crook of your elbow or arm.

It is also advised to wash your hands frequently, and if coughing and sneezing try not to do it into your hands but into the crook of your elbow to prevent the spread of bacteria. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.

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