CALGARY -- Influenza B is hitting Calgarians harder this season, with new numbers from Alberta Health Services reporting there has already been five times as many lab-confirmed cases than were reported in the city during last year's flu season.

Last season, Alberta recorded 143 cases of influenza B across the province. Just a few weeks into AHS's weekly flu season updates, the agency is reporting there have already been 307 cases — with half of those reported in the Calgary zone.

Last year, Calgary only saw 33 confirmed casses of the virus for the entire season.

The instances of lab-confirmed influenza A saw a spike in cases this week over last, from 277 to 361 with 84 new cases. It's the highest recorded jump this flu season.

The number of Albertans admitted to the hospital with lab-confirmed cases of the flu rose by 30 this week to 129, 14 of those reported in the Calgary zone. Ten additional cases were reported in Edmonton.

There have been no deaths linked to the flu in Alberta this season.

The holiday season is typically when the flu season ramps up as people travel and gather together more, increasing the possibility of spreading the flu virus further. AHS says the best way to avoid getting sick is to wash hands frequently and cover mouths and noses when coughing or sneezing. People who think they have the flu should stay home and rest to avoid spreading the virus.

Influenza immunization is currently available, free of charge, to all Albertans age six months and older.

There are four clinics available in Calgary, including:

  • Richmond Road Diagnostic and Treatment Centre (1820 Richmond Road S.W.)
  • Brentwood Village Mall (3630 Brentwood Road N.W.)
  • Northgate Mall (495 36th Street N.E.)
  • South Calgary Health Centre (31 Sunpark Plaza S.E)

Flu clinics in surrounding communities include:

  • Chestermere Community Health Centre (288 Kinniburgh Blvd.)
  • Airdrie Town and Country Centre (275 Jensen Drive N.E.)
  • Cochrane Community Health Centre (60 Grande Blvd.)
  • Foothills Centennial Centre (204 Community Way, Okotoks)
  • Oilfields General Hospital (717 Government Road, Black Diamond)

Some pharmacies and doctor’s offices in Alberta are also offering flu shots this season.