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

Cowichan Capitals add two points to lead over Clippers

Tensions between rivals come to a head in third period

Work has started on Malahat Skywalk, expected completion in 2021

$15-million project expected to open in spring, 2021

Baby Bear statue returned to be reunited with Mama and Papa

Culprit left it near the Henry Road roundabout in Chemainus with a note attached

Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre launches new project

The Nature Centre’s goal is to continue to engage the local community

Isles offence picks up against Peninsula

Kerry Park better at both ends of the ice in winless weekend

VIDEO: Feds look to help 126 Canadians quarantined in China for coronavirus

China has confirmed more than 4,500 cases of the new virus, with more than 100 deaths

Off-duty Nanaimo Mountie takes down would-be ice cream thief

Suspect attempted to steal Dilly Bars from Dairy Queen location on Sunday

Sap thief taps Saanich park maple trees, faces hefty fine

One tree found with four taps in Mount Doug Park

Nanaimo man hit with pole in dispute over off-leash dog

RCMP say no charges recommended at this time

Was there a tornado on Vancouver Island Monday?

Suspected phone app glitch gives eerie warning

B.C. reports first coronavirus in Vancouver region

First patient visited Wuhan, China, reported symptoms

Uber threatens legal action to ‘defend its right’ to operate in Surrey

‘I have no concerns,’ Mayor Doug McCallum replies

Victoria resident says WestJet employee uttered racist comment, refused to let her on plane

Customer claims she was told ‘You guys can’t handle your alcohol’ by WestJet employee

Bystander who tried to help dog being attacked not liable for its death: B.C. tribunal

Owner of dog killed tried to get $5,000 in damages from man who tried to save it

Most Read