Fighting the flu begins and ends with you

Vancouver Island – It’s not too late to prevent the flu! Island Health is encouraging people to get their flu shot and follow preventive steps to protect themselves and their loved ones this flu season.

In addition to getting the flu shot, take these steps to protect yourself and others:

• Clean your hands regularly (with soap and water or alcohol based hand rubs)
• Cover your mouth when you cough or cough into your sleeve
• Stay home when you are sick
• Reschedule visits to loved ones at Island Health facilities when you are sick

Visitors at Island Health facilities who are not vaccinated must wear a mask

Immunization is the best form of protection, but not everyone is able to get vaccinated. From December to March, visitors to hospitals and health care facilities who are not vaccinated must protect their loved ones by wearing a mask in patient care areas. Look for masks near main entrances, hand washing stations or at reception and admitting.

Find a vaccine provider in your community

Vaccines are available from a pharmacist or physician at many convenient locations. Visit Immunize BC’s Influenza Clinic Locator, call HealthLink BC at 8-1-1, or contact your family doctor for more information. Find out if you are eligible for the free flu vaccine at

Families with children can also get their flu shot at a public health clinic. Visit to find a public health flu clinic near you. To learn more, visit for a local telephone hotlines or contact your local public health unit office.

For more information about the influenza vaccine, visit  or call 8-1-1 to speak to a health professional at HealthLinkBC.

Influenza (the flu) is among the top ten leading causes of death in Canada, causing over 12,000 hospitalizations and 3,500 deaths annually. The flu is an infection of the nose and throat and lungs caused by the influenza virus, which spreads through breathing, coughing and sneezing. Symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue and cough. The term "flu" is often used to describe other illnesses, such as a cold or stomach virus. However, flu symptoms are usually prolonged and more severe than a cold and do not include nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

Central/North Island media inquiries

Adrienne Breen

South Island media inquiries

Meribeth Burton