VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) – Now that the holidays are over, we have some bad news. There are growing concerns about the flu season and the impacts it could have here in BC.
Washington State is approaching what it calls epidemic levels of flu outbreak after four deaths in less than two weeks. There has also been a major outbreak in the Interior but the deaths themselves aren’t great indicators of how bad things could get.
Regardless, BC’s Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Perry Kendall says it’s not looking good. “It is an H3N2 influenza, which means that we will expect it to have a major impact on all populations. We have had reports of almost a record number of outbreaks in long-term care facilities.”
Hospital emergency rooms in Washington State are also being flooded with flu patients.
Kendall adds the term “epidemic” can be misleading because it applies to anything above expected levels. “We’re actually at about the levels we’d expect for a relatively serious influenza outbreak.”
He also thinks things will get much worse in the coming weeks. “We’ll probably see influenza B come back in late February or March and that tends to affect younger people. We’re looking more like the influenza season we experienced in 2014-2015 — it was a bad flu year.”
He suggests taking the normal precautions like washing your hands, drinking plenty of fluids and sneezing into your elbow and as always he encourages everyone to get a flu shot. Kendall is also reminding people that a flu shot takes at least two weeks to work.