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

Wally Oppal says policing ‘too important’ to be left to the police

Oppal was keynote speaker at a Surrey Board of Trade “Hot Topic Dialogue” breakfast event Wednesday

Flip-flopping pleas in Surrey man’s 2018 murder in West Kelowna

Following an shocking guilty plea on Feb. 25, Tejwant Danjou applied to retract that plea on Feb. 26

Surrey skater speeds his way to four golds, a silver at BC Winter Games

‘I just really enjoy going fast on the ice,’ says Barnett Liu, 14

‘Urgent’ need for Metro Vancouver homeless count volunteers

Organizers say another 100 people are sought to help in Surrey and Burnaby

UPDATE: Surrey RCMP say missing 14-year-old has been found and is safe

Brayden Ritchat, 14, had been last seen in the 10800-block of 141st Street in Whalley on Feb. 21

VIDEO: Minister says consider coronavirus outbreak when planning for spring break

Foreign Affairs minister points to rash of new cases appearing in places like Italy and Iran

Alberta tourist dies after plunge from 70-metre cliff in Stanley Park

The 26-year-old hopped a fence at Prospect Point on fell to a walkway below, police said

B.C. man who pulled a gun on off-duty cop gets two years in prison

Encounter also lead police to a home where 100 guns and explosives were found

New Westminster woman’s ‘out of character’ disappearance probed by police

She left without telling anyone, prompting investigation by Major Crimes Unit, police say

EDITORIAL: Fraser Health needs to be transparent to fight coronavirus panic

Fraser Health and other authorities are not helping by being vague in recent communications

Riverdale actress Lili Reinhart rescues puppy from Langley shelter

American actress named her adopted pup Milo

How clean is your favourite local restaurant or café?

Online inspection reports allow consumers to find health hazard of all food facilities in region

Protecting privacy key to stopping spread of COVID-19, B.C. health officials say

The number of coronavirus cases in B.C. remains at seven

Most Read