This year's dominant flu strain is covered by the shot, says Montreal public health

Flu season is expected to peak later this month or in early February and the dominant strain, H3N2, is aggressive. But the good news is this year's shot is said to be effective against that strain.

20 outbreaks at seniors’ homes, hospitals reported since the start of flu season

The dominant flu strain going around this year is aggressive, but covered by the flu shot, according to Montreal public health. (Tony Dejak/Associated Press)

While the flu is being treated as an epidemic in other parts of Canada this year, that isn't the case in Montreal.

According to Montreal public health officer Dr. Renée Paré, there have been 20 outbreaks in the Montreal area since the start of flu season in September, but those numbers are normal for this time of year.

The majority of the outbreaks have been at provincially run long-term-care homes, but a few have also been reported at hospitals.

"It's expected during a flu season with the H3N2 strain," said Paré, adding that the strain is more aggressive than others and causes more complications for the elderly.

The good news is that if you got your flu shot, you should be covered, she said. The H3N2 strain was included in this year's vaccine.

Dr. Renée Paré said this year's flu season should peak in late January or early February. (CBC)

Paré said it's not too late to get the flu shot; it's still being offered in clinics.

The flu season should peak around late January or early February, she said. Last year, the flu season was delayed and peaked in late March.

"Each season is different, it never happens at the same time," said Paré.

If you think you've caught the flu, Paré recommends taking some precautions:

  • Avoid coming in contact with people who could suffer complications from the flu, such as the elderly, babies and people with weakened immune systems.
  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • Stay away from public places where the flu can easily spread.

Last week, Montreal hospitals urged parents to keep kids with flu away from emergency rooms to ease overcrowding.

Anyone with questions about flu symptoms can visit their family doctor, a pharmacist or call Info-Santé at 811.

With files from Shaun Malley