Cowichan District Hospital has a flu outbreak and has seen 42 people diagnosed since March 15. (File photo)

Flu outbreak at Cowichan District Hospital

42 people diagnosed at facility since March 15

An outbreak of Influenza A at the Cowichan District Hospital has seen approximately 42 people infected with the virus at the facility since March 15.

Shannon Marshall, a spokeswoman for Island Health, said some of the patients diagnosed with the flu have been discharged from the hospital, and the hospital has implemented prevention and control procedures in an effort to keep it from spreading from those still at the facility.

These procedures include thoroughly washing and cleaning the rooms where the patients with the flu were staying before other patients are moved in, and isolating the patients in some cases.

RELATED STORY: THIS YEAR’S FLU VACCINE IS WAY MORE EFFECTIVE THAN LAST YEAR

“The flu is still active in the community, so we’re monitoring patients for the flu as they are admitted,” Marshall said.

Outbreaks of the flu have also been reported in five other hospitals and care homes between Victoria and Parksville since mid-March.

The flu is an infection of the upper airway caused by an influenza virus.

Flu season generally occurs during the fall, winter and early spring.

Getting sick with the flu can put you at risk of getting other infections.

These include viral or bacterial pneumonia, which affects the lungs, and the risk of complications can be life-threatening.

People at higher risk of complications include seniors 65 years and older, very young children, and people who have lung or heart diseases, certain chronic health conditions or weakened immune systems.

RELATED STORY: KIDS AND TEENS VULNERABLE AS CANADIAN FLU CASES START TO SURGE

In Canada, thousands of people are hospitalized and may die from the flu and its complications during years with widespread or epidemic influenza activity.

The influenza vaccine is a safe and effective way to help prevent you and your family from getting sick, and it can even save lives.

In addition to getting the flu vaccine, you can help stop the spread of the flu by washing your hands regularly, promptly disposing of used tissues in the waste basket or garbage, coughing and sneezing into your shirt sleeve rather than your hands, staying home when you are ill, and eating healthy foods and staying physically active to keep your immune system strong.



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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