While influenza from the yuletide holiday is causing congestion in hospitals in the Fraser Valley, Northern Health (NH) communications officer Eryn Collins says NH isn’t seeing a particularly unusual influenza season throughout the region, including in the North Cariboo.
“We have had four influenza outbreaks in facilities across NH since the beginning of December, but they have not been particularly severe.”
However, health authorities have seen both A(H3N2) and B circulating across British Columbia now, she says, adding it’s somewhat unusual to see B this early, but it tends to cause milder disease.
Collins notes NH continues to encourage people in high-risk groups, or those who could spread influenza to vulnerable people, to get their flu shots.
“We also encourage people to stay home if they are, or have recently been, ill, and to avoid visiting care facilities where vulnerable people live or are being cared for, to help prevent spread to our facilities.”
Gastrointestinal illness, such as Norovirus, is also circulating at this time of year, and has been the source of a number of outbreaks across the region, Collins says.
She adds babies, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems are most at risk for complications, such as severe dehydration.
“Again, staying away from work or school while you are sick, and for two days after you are better, can help stop the spread of the virus.”