Remember to cover those sneezes and coughs. The flu virus hitting eastern Canada could still bring a late winter peak in flu activity here.

Immunization still urged as flu moves west

Not too late to vaccinate: health officials

Flu season has been mild so far in B.C. but health authorities warn it may not stay that way.

The influenza virus hitting eastern Canada hard may be felt more strongly here in the weeks ahead.

“The winter is long and the risk is not yet over,” said Dr. Danuta Skowronski, physician epidemiologist at the B.C. Centre for Disease Control.

“It would be wise to learn from the experience in eastern Canada and prepare for that now, because the same could still happen here.”

Influenza season typically spans November to April and the peak can happen any time during that period.

There’s still time to get immunized even though it takes about two weeks for the vaccine to take full effect.

Flu shots are still available through public health units, doctors’ offices and pharmacists.

“We are carefully watching other parts of the country,” added Fraser Health spokesperson Joan Marshall.

This year’s vaccine does cover the H3N2 strain spreading in eastern Canada.

The flu vaccine is recommended and free for the elderly, very young children, and people of all ages with chronic medical conditions as they are at highest risk of

hospitalization and death due to complications from influenza.

The province expanded Pharmacare coverage in December to include two brands of antiviral drugs, Tamiflu and Relenza.

They’re now covered for people at high risk of complications and who have flu symptoms during the 2010-11 flu season, as well as all residents at long-term care homes.

Most young healthy people recover from the flu without difficulty, but those at high risk may be helped with antivirals, which work best if taken at the first sign of symptoms appearing.

As a result, authorities advise that those at high risk have a plan in place for early treatment ahead of time.

The flu is potentially a serious respiratory illness and comes on suddenly with fever and cough as well as general aches and fatigue.

Frequent hand-washing and covering coughs and sneezes is advised to keep the virus from spreading.

There’s been little sign in B.C. this winter of the the H1N1 flu virus that triggered a mass immunization campaign a year ago.

Just Posted

Fundraiser for teenager hit by car in Rosedale

Teen suffering multiple fractures and blood clots following incident on Yale Road

Vedder River cleanup nets bag of discarded sex toys

Chilliwack volunteers stumble on unexpected find while removing 600 lbs of trash from riverway

Hikers alert after woman approached by suspicious man in Harrison Mills

The woman and her family were hiking in the wetlands between Rowena’s Inn and Sts’ailes First Nation

Chilliwack International Spring Film Series returns to Cottonwood 4 Cinemas

Put a spring in your step with the Chilliwack International Spring Film Series’ feature titles

EDITORIAL: No think-tank report cards for the Observer

Fraser Institute’s annual school ranking isn’t a good measure of success, editor Grace Kennedy writes

Film crews descend on Agassiz for ‘Republic of Sarah’

Pioneer Avenue will be closed to traffic Monday and Tuesday

BREAKING: BC Ferry crashes onto terminal

The Queen of Surrey is stuck on the dock in Langdale, causing delays to Horseshoe Bay

5 to start your day

Fatal crash in Coquitlam, stranger climbs onto balcony and lights fire, and more

Eviction halted for B.C. woman deemed ‘too young’ for seniors’ home

Zoe Nagler, 46, had been given notice after living in the seniors complex in Comox for six years

Vancouver Island home to B.C.’s luckiest lotto store

Five million-dollar winners have bought tickets from same Port Alberni corner store

Video of ‘shocking, chilling execution’ opens B.C. murder hearing

Sentencing underway for Brandon Woody after pleading guilty to second-degree murder in Nanaimo

Is it a homicide? B.C. woman dies in hospital, seven months after being shot

Stepfather think Chilliwack case should now be a homicide, but IHIT has not confirmed anything

SPCA seizes 54 animals from Vernon property

Animals weren’t receiving adequate care

Most Read