There have been eight flu-related deaths in Nova Scotia over the past week, and health officials say it may be the result of an abnormal influenza season.

“We have both of mix of influenza A and B at the same time. Usually we get influenza A first and then towards the end of the flu season we get B. This year we're getting both together,” said Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Robert Strang. 

There are 343 reported cases of both influenza A and B in Nova Scotia, which have resulted in 22 deaths. New Brunswick has seen 883 reported cases, an increase of 145 cases in a week, resulting in 15 deaths. On Prince Edward Island, there have been 163 reported cases of the flu and three deaths.

“Often the deaths come because someone had influenza and then a complication of an underlying chronic disease, or just they're very elderly and then a death may occur days to weeks after their flu infection,” Dr. Strang said.

New Brunswick Public Health says they noticed people started getting the flu in October when the season normally starts toward the end of December. Department officials believe New Brunswick’s high numbers are because of the longer flu season, and co-circulation of both strains.

Some nursing homes have also been affected. Shannex has facilities throughout the Maritimes and says while none of their locations are closed to visitors, they are asking family members to limit visits to their loved ones' rooms.

“We're still within range of normal but we're at the high end of the range of normal,” Dr. Strang said. “We certainly are having a significant flu season, but other than the appearance of early B it's not out of the range of anything unexpected.”

Dr. Strang says rest is the best medication, but if symptoms persist past three to five days, medical attention should be sought.

The flu season is supposed to come to an end toward the start of spring.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Laura Brown.