Senior homes brace as flu season ramps up in N.B.

A seniors' home in New Brunswick says it has seen a spike in the number of flu cases at its facility because patients are taking a longer time to recover.

Reported cases of the flu have increased across Canada with New Brunswick experiencing 55 cases of the virus so far this year.

Al Dionne said at age 70 he feels young and healthy. Still, he said he knows he's at risk of getting the flu living in a building with nearly 600 other seniors.

"We know of a few friends that have been sick, one gets it and if they couple, one gets it, the following three or four days the other one gets it. The only way to avoid it is if you move out, but that's not possible," he said.

Elaine Bayley, health care manager at Peoples Park Tower in Moncton, said she's noticed an increase in the number of cases in the building.

She said seniors often have weaker immune systems and other illnesses making it even more difficult to get over the flu.

"The problem with the flu is that those numbers are doubling and tripling because more people are getting significantly ill faster and taking longer to recover," said Bayley.

To avoid spreading the flu, Bayley says residents who are sick are asked to stay away from common areas like the cafeteria and activities rooms.

Nurses are on staff 24 hours a day to help those who do get sick.

While the spread of the influenza virus continues to take its toll in the Maritimes, officials in Maine say the number of sick residents is reaching epidemic proportions.

There have been more than 70 reported outbreaks and the disease and an an otherwise healthy school-aged girl died last month.

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