Interior Health says they are expecting two of the more serious types of flu in the Southern Interior this winter.
Flu season usually starts around October or November and tends to peak around Christmas, according to medical health officer Rakel Kling.
“There’s more mixing,” Kling says. “Kids are off school, and people are getting together for the holidays. More people interacting with each other.”
This year the World Health Organization has advised vaccinating against two forms of Type-A influenza viruses – H1N1 and H3N3 – as well as a third virus from the less severe Type-B.
Kling says the vaccine last year was more effective than usual but it’s still too early to tell exactly what form the annual sickness will take in the 2017-2018 season.
Some countries in the Southern Hemisphere, including Australia and Hong Kong, have had one of the worst flu seasons on record so far, according to Global News.
Every year roughly 1,000 people are hospitalized with the influenza virus in B.C. Samples from those patients are taken and analyzed and the results are used to determine what viruses are making the rounds.
The elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions are encouraged to get vaccines, which will be delivered to pharmacies, hospitals, doctors’ offices and travel clinics over the next month.
The Interior Health website also recommends you wash your hands often, avoid touching your face, and if you get sick, stay home until symptoms disappear.
Set out tissue boxes, trash bins and hand sanitizer around your home or work to make it easier for those around you to stop the spread of germs and see your doctor if you suspect you have the flu. Antiviral medications may reduce the effects of the flu in people at a high risk of complications, such as young children, seniors, pregnant women, those with respiratory problems or who have other underlying conditions.
To find a flu clinic closest to you, call 8-1-1 or visit ImmunizeBC's Influenza Clinic Locator.
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