“Not many people die of colds, but people will die from flu symptoms, because it progresses to something they can’t fight,” says Marg Kosolofski of the Sun Peaks Health Centre.
“In the States they did a study in the 2010-2011 flu season and there were 115 deaths of children from flu,” she continued. “Nearly half of those had no known medical conditions.”
Symptoms of the flu include sudden onset fever, severe fatigue or weakness, and relentless headaches. People often carry on with their daily activities, including going to work and school, when they don’t feel well, which only spreads the virus. Health officials urge people to stay home until at least 24-hours after their fever has broken.
While upset stomachs are often assumed to be the flu, those ailments are not actually symptoms of it.
“A stomach issue is gastroenteritis,” notes Kosolofski. “The defining thing with the flu is the sudden onset of a fever greater than 38.5 C that lasts three to four days. The other symptom is severe fatigue and that can last up to three weeks.”
The best way to avoid the flu is by having a yearly vaccination.
“People have to optimize their protection (because) there’s evidence that immunity declines over time, so go get it!” encourages Kosolofski.
“By protecting yourself you also help protect others,” says Michael de Jong, British Columbia’s health minister.
It takes time for your body to develop immunity after you’ve been vaccinated. By getting your shot early, you’ll be protected before the flu season really takes hold. It’s especially important that those at greater risk of infection, including children over the age of six months and seniors, get immunized.
The Sun Peaks Health Centre will provide flu shots for anyone living between Heffley Creek and Sun Peaks. The shots will be free of charge for those with a B.C. CareCard, those without can obtain it for a fee.
The Nov. 16 clinic will be held at the Hearthstone Lodge from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Shots will be administered at the Health Centre after that date.
While getting a flu shot is the best way to avoid getting sick, there are measures you can take to prevent the spread of germs, including covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when you sneeze or cough and frequent hand-washing with soap and warm water. It’s recommended that you avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth as this increases the spread of germs. Most importantly, if you are sick, stay home until your symptoms subside.