Monday, October 5, 2009

Expected Increase in H1N1 Activity Means Residents Need to Remain Vigilant

For Immediate Release
October 5, 2009

Expected Increase in H1N1 Activity Means Residents Need to Remain Vigilant

While the majority of the cases of the H1N1 flu virus seen in the Interior Health region and across British Columbia have been mild, the public still needs to be mindful of taking action and precautions to protect themselves from the virus this fall and winter.

B.C. is seeing an increase in H1N1 flu activity earlier than what is normal for the annual flu season and Interior Health would like to remind the public – and especially pregnant women and those with underlying chronic health conditions – that now, more than ever, is the time to be vigilant about using good personal hygiene etiquette to help minimize the spread of viruses.

““For the last few months, we have been predicting an increase in flu activity. Now, some schools in the Interior are seeing increased absenteeism and physicians throughout the region are reporting more cases of influenza-like illness,” said IH Senior Medical Health Officer, Dr. Andrew Larder. ““We have been expecting and preparing for this increase and, with the lessons we have learned from the experience in the Southern Hemisphere during their flu season, we are in a very good position to manage the virus in our region throughout the fall and winter.”

Pregnant women, Aboriginal people, and adults and children with underlying health conditions are at higher risk of more serious illness and complications from the H1N1 flu. Those with chronic health conditions such as respiratory disease, asthma, heart disease, diabetes, immunosuppression, kidney or liver disease or blood disorders, should take extra precautions to protect themselves. People in these risk groups should talk to their doctor about getting a prescription for antiviral drugs in advance that they can fill if they do start to have flu-like symptoms.

““The most effective way you can protect yourself is to wash your hands often for at least 15 seconds with soap and water, or use a hand sanitizer if you aren’t near a sink,” said Larder. “Be sure to sneeze and cough into your sleeve or a tissue and, if you or your children do get sick, stay home from work or school so you don’t get others sick.”

The H1N1 vaccine is expected to arrive in B.C. in November, or possibly earlier, and the provincial government has ordered enough doses to ensure that everyone who needs and wants the vaccine will be able to receive it. It’s also expected that all British Columbians will be able to receive one dose of the vaccine by Christmas. While one dose will be sufficient for most adults, children under ten may require two doses.

Symptoms related to the H1N1 flu virus are very similar to those of seasonal flu, including cough, fever, general aches and fatigue. These symptoms may last up to 10 days or longer for some people.

Watch for information on future H1N1 flu vaccination clinics in your local media or the Interior Health website at

If you have general questions about H1N1 or related symptoms, call HealthLink BC at 811, 24 hours a day or log on to

Media Information:
Lannea Parfitt
Public Health Communications Officer
(250) 870-5898


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I have been a resident of Coldstream since 1976. I have had 15 years of experience on Council, 3 years as Mayor. As a current Councillor I am working to achieve fair water and sewer rates and to ensure that taxpayers get fair treatment. The current direction regarding water supply is unsustainable and I am doing all I can to get the most cost effective water supply possible.