Risk of catching the flu increasing in B.C. this holiday season: BCCDC

Dr. Danuta Skowronski with the BC Centre for Disease Control says influenza will pick up during the holidays

  • Dec. 16, 2018 8:10 a.m.

––Kamloops This Week

BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) influenza experts say influenza activity is increasing as the holiday season approaches.

Dr. Danuta Skowronski, influenza lead at the BCCDC, said high-risk individuals and their close contacts should be vaccinated as soon as possible.

“Our monitoring suggests the influenza epidemic will coincide with the festive period in a couple of weeks,” Skowronski said.

“Since it takes about two weeks for the influenza vaccine to induce protection, now is the time for high-risk individuals and their close contacts to get vaccinated, if they haven’t already.”

High-risk individuals are those with underlying medical conditions like heart and lung disease or those with weakened immune systems that make it harder to fight respiratory infections.

Complications such as pneumonia can be life-threatening for some and can lead to death.

Last year and the year before, there were severe epidemics due to the H3N2 kind of influenza A virus.

This year, the H1N1 kind of influenza A is mostly circulating instead.

Skowronski said both cause similar illness — fever, cough, aches and fatigue — but H3N2 viruses are hardest on the elderly, whereas H1N1 viruses tend to affect more children and non-elderly adults.

This year’s flu vaccine gives protection against both H3N2 and H1N1 viruses, as well as influenza B.

In addition to vaccination, Skowronski said there are other steps people can take to reduce their risk and minimize the spread of influenza and other viruses to others.

This includes:

  • Washing your hands frequently, especially if you’ve been out in public
  • Avoiding touching your face, especially your eyes, mouth and nose
  • Coughing and sneezing into your elbow. If you use a tissue, make sure to dispose of it properly and wash your hands
  • If you are feeling unwell, stay home so you don’t pass your infection onto others, especially those who may be at higher risk

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

NIC practical nursing students hone skills on pandemic’s front line

‘It also has become clear that this is my thing,’ – NIC practical nursing student Breanna Patterson

Fisherman snags barracuda off Vancouver Island in rare encounter

Ferocious fish, not native to Canada, was netted and released in Alberni Inlet

Vancouver Island family loses everything after house fire next door

Friends of Paula and Clifford Lucas are raising funds to help the young family

North Island College announces 2020 graduation award winners

North Island College has announced the award recipients for the 2020 Graduation… Continue reading

Alberni Valley volunteer wins BC Hockey award

Kellie Steel named one of nine unsung heroes through COVID-19

Wage subsidy will be extended until December amid post-COVID reopening: Trudeau

Trudeau said the extension will ‘give greater certainty and support to businesses’

Tree planters get help with COVID-19 protective measures

Ottawa funds extra transportation, sanitizing for crews

Trudeau apologizes for not recusing himself from WE decision

He says his and his family’s longtime involvement with the WE organization should have kept him out of the discussions

Islanders want BC Ferries to follow order that lets residents board before tourists

For ferry-dependent communities, ferries are often the sole practical lifeline to work, school or medical appointments.

Washington’s NFL team drops ‘Redskins’ name after 87 years

The franchise was given the name back in 1933, when it was still in Boston

Genetic detectives begin work to trace spread of COVID-19 in Canada

The kinds of genetic technology being used for this project did not exist when SARS hit Canada in 2003

Sports fishers protest Fraser River Chinook closures

Public Fishery Alliance wants hatchery fish open for harvest

Most Read