Interior Health said more than ever they need people of all ages and walks of life to get vaccinated against influenza.
Dr. Carol Fenton, Medical Health Officer with Interior Health said the importance of getting a flu shot this year is twofold.
“We really need to relieve the burden the flu normally poses on our Healthcare System. Our frontline Healthcare workers are working really hard with extra PPE and all these measures to prevent COVID, it’s really hard on the system. Normally every fall we see higher rates of respiratory illness and we see hospitalizations from the flu we really need to prevent those this year”.
Fenton added the second reason to get a flu shot is that you may have mild symptoms and could unknowingly pass the flu on to loved ones.
Interior Health said the more we reduce the presence of respiratory illness this winter, the better positioned we are to continue fighting against COVID-19.
IH SAID when they assess a patient’s respiratory symptoms their job is easier if that person had the flu shot because it helps them determine if the illness is more likely influenza or COVID-19.
“The symptoms and the presentation of the respiratory viruses, both COVID-19 and the influenza are very similar”. Dr. Carol Fenton said, “You’re going to see fever, you’re going to see coughs, you’re going to see general feelings of sickness and we won’t be able to tell which is which unless we have a swab, but if someone has received the flu vaccine the likelihood of flu is so much lower and much easier to tell”.
Dr. Fenton said it’s also good to encourage people in your bubble to get a flu shot because they should be the only people that you’re coming in to close contact with.
The flu season starts towards the end of October, usually peaking the last week of December and the first week of January, then continues on and peters off in March or April.