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

The Old Schoolhouse Arts Centre in Qualicum Beach to re-open on Aug. 11

Hours are Tuesday to Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

EDITORIAL: Real communication can solve problems

Neighbourhood dispute in Columbia Beach made headlines

COVID-19: SD69 working on how to organize schools for planned fall re-opening

Qualicum School District required to have plan to ministry by Aug. 26

RDN Transit requiring masks for most come end of month

Masks, hand sanitizer to be handed out in Regional District of Nanaimo mask policy campaign

Major injuries averted after three-vehicle crash in Nanoose Bay

Poor road conditions believed a factor in early-morning mishap

53 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths cap off week of high infection rates in B.C.

Roughly 1,500 people are self-isolating because they either have COVID-19 or have been exposed to it

Fitness non-profit challenges citizens to invent a game to be physically active

The campaign was launched after a study showed only 4.8 per cent of children and youths in Canada met required standards of the 24-hour movement guidelines

VIDEO: U.S. Air Force pilot does fly-by for B.C. son amid COVID border separation

Sky-high father-son visit plays out over White Rock Pier

3 Vancouver police officers test positive for COVID after responding to large party

Union president says other officers are self-isolating due to possible exposure

New mothers with COVID-19 should still breastfeed: Canada’s top doctor

Dr. Theresa Tam made the recommendation during World Breastfeeding Awareness Week

Collapse of Nunavut ice shelf ‘like losing a good friend:’ glaciologist

The ice shelf on the northwestern edge of Ellesmere Island has shrunk 43 per cent

RCMP looking for missing teen in Comox Valley

Jenessa Shacter was last seen going for a walk in downtown Courtenay

B.C. wildfire crews have battled 111 blazes in the last seven days

Twenty-nine fires remain active, as of Friday (Aug 7)

‘We don’t make the rules’: Okanagan pub owner says staff harassed over pandemic precautions

‘If you have six people plus a baby, guess what? That’s seven’ - West Kelowna Kelly O’Bryan’s owner

Most Read