January 07, 2014 - 1:33 PM
VERNON - An Okanagan woman in her 50s has died after contracting the H1N1 influenza virus, Interior Health confirmed Tuesday afternoon.
She died sometime in the last week. Interior Health is not providing any further details, such as the woman’s exact age or the place she died, for patient confidentiality reasons.
Medical Health Officer Rob Parker says there have been 35 lab confirmed cases of H1N1 in the B.C. Interior.
“Those are people who saw a physician and had a viral swab,” Parker says. “There’s obviously a lot more people out there with influenza.”
It’s going to get worse. Parker suspects another week or two of rapid spreading before H1N1 hits its peak in B.C.
Those who got their flu shots this year can rest easy. Included in the shot was the latest strain of H1N1. While not 100 per cent, the vaccine is your best chance of avoiding influenza. However, don’t think you’re invincible if you only got immunized yesterday. It takes two weeks for immunity to kick in, but it’s still worth it. You may still get H1N1, but it’ll be a much mellower version, Parker says.
Health authorities are recommending everyone at an increased risk of contracting influenza to get the flu shot.
“Lots of toddlers born since 2009 might not have been immunized yet,” Parker says.
This latest strain of H1N1 is hitting young people harder than ever before with more cases of severe illness and secondary infections.
If you begin experiencing flu-like symptoms including a sore throat, fever, or coughing, stay home, rest up, and avoid spreading the illness to others, Parker says.
Most should get better on their own, but if your symptoms are beyond normal and your condition is not improving, Parker suggests calling the B.C. Nurses hotline at 8-1-1 for medical advice.
To contact the reporter for this story email Charlotte Helston at firstname.lastname@example.org, call (250)309-5230 or tweet @charhelston.
This story was edited at 9 a.m. Jan. 8 to clarify that there have been 35 lab confirmed cases of H1N1 in the B.C. Interior.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014