News Influenza on the rise: Northern Health SHARE ON: Matt Fetinko, staff Thursday, Jan. 10th, 2019 It looks like northern BC is in peak flu season. Northern Health is reporting influenza activity is increasing across the region and that vaccines are still available. “We know that every year, healthy people can die from influenza regardless of what the strain is and that’s why we recommend getting the flu shot every year,” said Medical Health Officer Dr. Rakel Kling. The main strain circulating this year is H1N1. “What we’re seeing, which was also seen in previous years where it was the H1N1 strain, is that children in particular are being hit very hard,” Dr. Kling explained. “There is a lot of influenza activity around children under the age of about nine or ten this year.” Tips from Northern Health to prevent catching the flu include: Get the flu shot – Protective effects from the flu shot occur approximately two weeks after receiving it. The BC Centre for Disease Control has noted the main kind of flu found this year is included in this year’s vaccine, meaning people will be better protected if they are vaccinated. People at high risk of complications who experience influenza-like illness should seek medical care without delay. Their doctor may want to prescribe a drug that must be given early to be effective. Get plenty of rest and fluids if you’re sick with influenza-like illness. Most people will recover on their own at home. Seek medical care if there is trouble breathing, pain in the chest or a high fever that does not get better after 3-4 days. Staying home if you are sick – You do not want to spread the flu to your classmates, colleagues, or friends. Make sure to rest and get better before returning to work or school. Practicing frequent and proper hand hygiene – Use alcohol based hand sanitizer regularly and make sure to wash your hands appropriately (wet your hands, scrub with soap for 20 seconds, rinse off your hands, dry your hands thoroughly, and use the paper towel to open and close the door). Observing coughing and sneezing etiquette – Cough or sneeze into your shoulder, not onto your hand or in the air.