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It’s officially flu season: help protect the people we care for

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December 1 is the official start to flu season in the province, as declared by Dr. Perry Kendall, BC’s provincial health officer.

To protect our vulnerable patients, residents and clients from this serious and potentially deadly illness, the provincial influenza prevention policy requires all staff, volunteers and visitors to PHSA patient care areas to have had a flu shot or wear a mask during flu season (December 1, 2017 until approximately March 31, 2018). This policy applies to all patient care facilities in BC.

The flu is a serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and even death.

Those already hospitalized – especially the very young, people with compromised immune systems and the elderly – are highly susceptible to influenza, and each year there are around 3,500 flu-related deaths in Canada.

Getting vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself and others against influenza 

Even healthy people can get very sick from the flu, and infected people are highly contagious and can spread influenza to others for up to 24 hours before showing symptoms. The flu shot is safe and effective at preventing illness, especially when used with other infection prevention practices such as proper hand hygiene and staying home when sick. 

Visitors qualify for free seasonal flu shot

If you’re planning to visit a friend or relative in a health care facility, or if you’ll be taking someone to outpatient appointments in a health care facility, you are eligible to receive the flu shot free of charge.

Where can I get a flu shot? 

  • Your family doctor
  • A walk-in clinic
  • Your pharmacist 
  • A public health clinic 
Find a convenient flu clinic location at Immunize BC along with more information about flu vaccination including who’s eligible for a free seasonal flu shot.

Masks

If you are not immunized, masks are available at nursing stations, outpatient reception desks and/or the main entrances of our facilities, and wearing instructions will be provided.

Other ways to fight the flu

Take these additional steps as noted on HealthLinkBC to keep yourself healthy and well this flu season:

  • Wash your hands regularly
  • Promptly dispose of used tissues in the waste basket or garbage
  • Cough and sneeze into your shirt sleeve rather than your hands
  • Stay home when you are ill
  • Keep your hands away from your face
  • Keep common surface areas such as doorknobs, light switches, television remotes and keyboards clean and disinfected
  • Eat healthy foods and stay physically active to keep your immune system strong

Are you a PHSA employee?

Visit the staff influenza resources page for details on how the provincial influenza prevention policy applies to PHSA staff members.
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