How to avoid spreading illness during the holiday season | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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How to avoid spreading illness during the holiday season

Image Credit: ADOBE STOCK

KELOWNA – Interior Health is asking people to make an effort to avoid spreading communicable diseases to reduce the number of outbreaks in care facilities which are common at this time of year.

Medical health officer Dr. Silvina Mema says Interior Health sites are experiencing a rise in contagious illnesses, which is often the case during the winter months.

“It’s that time of the year again when people are getting together to celebrate the holidays and spend time together,” Mema says in a media release.

She says it’s also the time of year when Interior Health starts to see outbreaks of respiratory illness like influenza and outbreaks of gastrointestinal illness at care facilities.

“As hard as it is at this time of year, please stay home if you are sick. Don’t visit your loved ones in a residential facility,” Mema says. “Instead you can use the phone or use a video app and arrange to spend time together once you are symptom free.”

A list of the care facilities in the Interior Health region experiencing outbreaks is available on the authority’s website here. The sites with outbreaks will also have written notices posted at the entrance.

Gastrointestinal and respiratory infections are caused by viruses and bacteria, and spread from person to person, according to Interior Health.

Mema says it’s still not to late to get the flu shot.

“December is traditionally the start of flu season so there is still time and benefit from getting the flu shot because the season usually extends until April. Talk to your pharmacist, your doctor or call a public health unit to ask about the flu shot.”

For more information about these illnesses go to the HealthLinkBC webpage on Norovirus here, or the HealthLinkBC webpage on influenza here.

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