Flu season approaching peak

If you noticed a lot sneezes into the mashed potatoes at Christmas dinner or hacking through toasts on New Year's Eve, you're not alone.

Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious disease physician based out of Toronto General Hospital says the number of influenza cases started to climb in the last few weeks of December.

"This is part of the natural history of the virus, we see this every single year," Bogoch explains.

Updated information on confirmed cases over the holidays will be released Friday.

The cacophony of sniffles and coughs will only get louder through January with flu season likely to peak near the end of the month or in early February.

Bogoch says your best line of defence is still getting the flu shot if you haven't yet. Early on, it appears that this season's vaccine is more effective against the dominant H1N1 strain of flu circulating. Last season's vaccine proved to be only 36% effective overall and only had a 25% chance of knocking out the tougher then-dominant H3N2 strain.

Since the flu virus can cling to inanimate objects like elevator buttons, door handles and subway straps, Bogoch says washing your hands often can also help from getting sick.

Early indications are that like Australia's flu season earlier this year, ours will be milder than the one we saw in 2017-18.

While that would mean fewer hospitalizations and deaths, Bogoch explains it won't make having the flu any easier and the illness still needs to be taken seriously.

"People are going to feel really crummy for several days," Bogoch says.

Symptoms of flu include fever, cough, sore throat, headache, fatigue and muscle aches. Bogoch says your best shot at a speedy recovery is taking acetaminophen, drinking lots of fluids, taking in electrolytes and staying home while you're sick.

If you're having a hard time breathing or troubling keeping liquids down, Bogoch says you should see a medical professional.

The flu season tends to peter out in late March or early April.

For more on the flu, click HERE.