Battle continues against a nasty flu bug on West Shore

If you’ve been bitten by that nasty bug going around that can last a couple of weeks, you’re not alone.

  • Jan. 20, 2017 8:00 p.m.

If you’ve been bitten by that nasty bug going around that can last a couple of weeks, you’re not alone.

It’s been a busy year for the flu, worse than last year and probably as bad as 2014-15, said Dr. Dee Hoyano, a medical health officer with the Vancouver Island Health Authority.

The peak activity period that runs roughly the middle of December through to the end of January has resulted in an increase of people going to see their doctor or attending walk-in clinics, with the peak of activity for the bug generally lasting several weeks, Hoyano noted.

“A full-blown flu is different in severity,” Hoyano explained when asked what the differences are between a flu and a cold. “The fever, body aches and really tired feeling can last a couple of weeks. The cough is most likely to stick around,  and the runny nose and sore throat can continue as well.”

On the other hand, the average cold lasts only a few days to a week, and usually doesn’t have the same severity of fatigue. If the cough persists more than a few weeks, you should get in touch with your doctor because it may result in pneumonia, Hoyano said.

She said that there hasn’t been a drop-off in total of flu shots administered by pharmacies, clinics and doctors.

Last year, more than 225,000 people on Vancouver Island received immunizations. People dealing with a severe case of the flu that are seniors, children under five or have chronic medical conditions should contact a doctor if the symptoms persist to see if they need an anti-viral injection to decrease the impact.

“Most healthy people should stay at home when ill whether it’s the flu or not to avoid passing it on. Get lots of rest, drink lots of water and do lots of hand washing,” Hoyano said. “Be extra vigilant right now.”

There is no specific antibiotic for people with the flu, she said, but it’s not too late to get a flu shot for this year.

“Some viruses can hang around into the spring,” she said. “Be mindful that it takes a couple of weeks for the full effect of the vaccine.”

Jeff Giles, a pharmacist at Forbes Pharmacy on Goldstream Avenue, said they still have people coming in for flu shots. “It’s still a good idea to get vaccinated in the next few weeks,” he said. “We’re also seeing more people coming in for cold and flu medications.”