Connect with us

Health

'It was shocking because it came so quick': Patients and doctors cope as flu season ramps up – CBC.ca

Published

 on


Packed emergency wards, filled with feverish, coughing people suffering from the flu. It is a scene being played out at hospitals across the country.

This flu season started a bit earlier than normal and is now moving into high gear, experts say. 

That certainly seemed clear at Humber River Hospital in Toronto on Boxing Day. 

“We saw 510 people come through our emergency room department and our after-hours kids clinic on that day,” said Dr. Tasleem Nimjee, an ER physician at the hospital.

Dr. Tasleem Nimjee, an emergency room physician at Humber River Hospital in Toronto, says the ER and after-hours kids clinic have been very busy. (Craig Chivers/CBC)

What may also be a bit unusual is the presence of both flu strains at the same time. Influenza A mainly affects older people, while influenza B typically targets children and youth. Normally, one strain wanes as the other peaks.

Every year, the flu kills an estimated 3,000 Canadians, often young children, the elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions such as asthma.

So far, there have been nearly 12,500 confirmed cases of flu across Canada and 10 deaths.

In Manitoba, two families are reeling from the recent deaths of their loved ones. Joanne Ens, 24, died from a bacterial infection after battling the flu for several days, while Blaine Ruppenthal, 17, also died of complications from the flu.

It’s that toll on the body exacted by the flu that worries doctors.

“The flu can complicate pre-existing heart disease, asthma, chronic lung disease, quite often it causes pneumonia and that’s sort of its route of causation. It’s what makes people really sick,” said Dr. Mark Loeb, division director for infectious diseases at McMaster University in Hamilton.

In Ajax, Ont., about 50 kilometres east of Toronto, Wendy Wilson is recovering from a bout of pneumonia that left her with a cracked rib. It started with a sore throat and flu-like symptoms.

“I was afraid to walk fast or move too fast because it was like all of a sudden, I’d start coughing, and I’m feeling like I can’t catch my breath,” she said.

“It was shocking because it came so quick.”

And those symptoms can sometimes worsen, Nimjee said.

“If somebody is really short of breath and not able to manage without assisted support, without oxygen or hydration or need antibiotics through an IV, those would be the people who would be admitted to hospital,” she said.

Ascend the mountain

Yet experts say it’s still too early to gauge the severity of this particular flu season. While doctors at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention point to ominous signs, such as widespread flu activity and hospitalizations, as indicators of a bad year, Canadian numbers, so far, don’t bear that out.

Dr. Mark Loeb, division director for infectious diseases at McMaster University in Hamilton, says it’s too early to tell how severe this flu season will prove to be. (Craig Chivers/CBC)

“Based on data up to January 4, 2020, the Public Health Agency of Canada would not characterize the current flu season as severe at this time,” officials told CBC News in an emailed response to questions.

Loeb agreed it’s too early to tell. Typically, flu season runs from mid-November until April.

“Flu epidemics are like a mountain. It’s like an ascension and then you reach a peak and then you descend. Now we’re on the ascension of that mountain and we don’t know exactly where it will peak.”

However, doctors agree on one thing: get the flu shot.

Although this year’s vaccine may not be a perfect match to the current strains, some protection is always better than none, according to Loeb.

“Sometimes prevention is harder for people to understand than treatment.”

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Health

‘I was shocked’: Mother, child mistakenly given COVID-19 vaccine instead of flu shot – Comox Valley Record

Published

 on


A Manitoba mother says a routine appointment for her and her three-year-old to get flu shots ended in frustration and mixed messages after they were each mistakenly given an adult dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Jenna Bardarson is calling for policy changes at the province’s vaccination centres to make sure that doesn’t happen to another family.

The shots were administered on Nov. 24 at the Keystone Centre in Brandon.

Bardarson says that shortly after she and her daughter, Dali, got their shots, the health worker who had given them excused herself to speak with a supervisor. When the worker returned, she told them she had made a mistake and given them both the adult Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

“I was shocked. I didn’t know what to say. My immediate concerns were, of course, would my daughter be OK and also who could I speak to about this,” Bardarson said in online social media messages Friday to The Canadian Press.

Once she got home, Bardarson made multiple calls to different departments with the regional medical authority, hoping to speak with someone about the error and her concerns, she said.

She said no one was able to provide her with the answers or information she needed. “The conversations with various Prairie Mountain Health members have been frustrating, to say the least.”

Bardarson said she already had two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine and was due for her booster shot next month. Her daughter is too young to be eligible.

Health Canada last month approved a pediatric version of the Pfizer shot for children ages five to 11, but it has not yet approved a vaccine for those under five.

Bardarson said she and her daughter had headaches and sore arms the following day. Her daughter had no appetite and was throwing up.

Manitoba Health confirmed the mistake in a statement and said staff from Prairie Mountain have reached out to the mother to discuss what happened as well as to provide an update on an investigation.

“Patient safety is a critical aspect of all health-care services in Manitoba. We are constantly reviewing our processes to ensure that our systems support our staff in preventing errors,” it said.

“In this case … our team reviewed the existing processes to make adjustments that would help avoid a similar error from occurring in the future.”

Bardarson said the health region has not provided her with updated information on the investigation and would not discuss any consequences the health worker may have faced.

Manitoba Health said no further action would be taken against the worker, because she immediately recognized the error and told a supervisor.

For Bardarson, that’s not enough.

“I by no means want her fired; however, there should be some sort of measures in place for harm reduction.”

Bardarson suggested taking away the worker’s injection privileges or enhanced supervision during vaccinations.

She said she would also like to see areas at vaccination centres separated by vaccine types, instead of having different vaccines offered in the same booth.

Manitoba Health could not say if others have been given a COVID-19 vaccine by mistake, but acknowledged that medication errors, although rare, do occur. It added that Bardarson was provided with information about the risks of the COVID-19 vaccine, which in this case it says are low.

Health Canada said it is not in charge of immunization monitoring and could not comment on whether similar mistakes have occurred in other parts of the country.

– Brittany Hobson, The Canadian Press

vaccines

Adblock test (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Health

Two hippos in Belgian zoo test positive for COVID-19

Published

 on

Two hippos have tested positive for COVID-19 at Antwerp Zoo in Belgium in what could be the first reported cases in the species, zoo staff said.

Hippos Imani, aged 14, and 41-year-old Hermien have no symptoms apart from a runny nose, but the zoo said the pair had been put into quarantine as a precaution.

“To my knowledge, this is the first time in this species. Worldwide, this virus has been reported mainly in great apes and felines,” said the zoo’s vet, Francis Vercammen.

The coronavirus is thought to have jumped from an animal to a human, and it is proved to have passed from humans to animals.

Pets including cats, dogs and ferrets have become infected following contact with their owners, while in zoos, cases have been reported in animals such as big cats, otters, primates and hyenas.

The disease has also spread in mink farms and to wild animals, such as deer.

Antwerp Zoo is investigating the causes of the contagion. None of the zookeepers had recently shown COVID-19 symptoms or tested positive for the virus, the zoo said.

 

(Reporting by Francesco Guarascio; Editing by Helen Popper)

Continue Reading

Health

'I was shocked': Mother, child mistakenly given COVID-19 vaccine instead of flu shot – Squamish Chief

Published

 on


WINNIPEG — A Manitoba mother says a routine appointment for her and her three-year-old to get flu shots ended in frustration and mixed messages after they were each mistakenly given an adult dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. 

Jenna Bardarson is calling for policy changes at the province’s vaccination centres to make sure that doesn’t happen to another family. 

The shots were administered on Nov. 24 at the Keystone Centre in Brandon.

Bardarson says that shortly after she and her daughter, Dali, got their shots, the health worker who had given them excused herself to speak with a supervisor. When the worker returned, she told them she had made a mistake and given them both the adult Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. 

“I was shocked. I didn’t know what to say. My immediate concerns were, of course, would my daughter be OK and also who could I speak to about this,” Bardarson said in online social media messages Friday to The Canadian Press.

Once she got home, Bardarson made multiple calls to different departments with the regional medical authority, hoping to speak with someone about the error and her concerns, she said.

She said no one was able to provide her with the answers or information she needed. “The conversations with various Prairie Mountain Health members have been frustrating, to say the least.”

Bardarson said she already had two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine and was due for her booster shot next month. Her daughter is too young to be eligible.

Health Canada last month approved a pediatric version of the Pfizer shot for children ages five to 11, but it has not yet approved a vaccine for those under five. 

Bardarson said she and her daughter had headaches and sore arms the following day. Her daughter had no appetite and was throwing up.

Manitoba Health confirmed the mistake in a statement and said staff from Prairie Mountain have reached out to the mother to discuss what happened as well as to provide an update on an investigation.

“Patient safety is a critical aspect of all health-care services in Manitoba. We are constantly reviewing our processes to ensure that our systems support our staff in preventing errors,” it said.

“In this case … our team reviewed the existing processes to make adjustments that would help avoid a similar error from occurring in the future.”

Bardarson said the health region has not provided her with updated information on the investigation and would not discuss any consequences the health worker may have faced. 

Manitoba Health said no further action would be taken against the worker, because she immediately recognized the error and told a supervisor. 

For Bardarson, that’s not enough.

“I by no means want her fired; however, there should be some sort of measures in place for harm reduction.”

Bardarson suggested taking away the worker’s injection privileges or enhanced supervision during vaccinations. 

She said she would also like to see areas at vaccination centres separated by vaccine types, instead of having different vaccines offered in the same booth.

Manitoba Health could not say if others have been given a COVID-19 vaccine by mistake, but acknowledged that medication errors, although rare, do occur. It added that Bardarson was provided with information about the risks of the COVID-19 vaccine, which in this case it says are low.

Health Canada said it is not in charge of immunization monitoring and could not comment on whether similar mistakes have occurred in other parts of the country.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 3, 2021.

___

The story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship. 

Brittany Hobson, The Canadian Press


Adblock test (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Trending