Don’t forget to mask up

Island Health patient visitors without a flu shot this season, will need to mask up

Unless you’ve had a flu shot this season, as of Dec. 1, 2015 you’ll have to mask up when visiting any Island Health patient care facilities, including Victoria General Hospital, long-term care homes and outpatient clinics.

The Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA) reminds residents to don masks when entering their facilities to help protect patients from catching the flu.

Masks, hand sanitizers and information are available at key entrances of patient care areas.

Hospitalized patients, young children and seniors in care facilities are more vulnerable to influenza than healthy adults.

People infected are highly contagious and can spread the virus for 24 hours before they realize they are sick.

The flu vaccine is free for people intending to visit a health-care facility, children between the ages of six months and five years, seniors 65 years and older, pregnant women, and individuals with chronic health conditions or compromised immune systems.

People wishing to find out where they can get a flu shot are encouraged to talk to their health care provider or pharmacist, or visit viha.ca/flu for more information on the vaccine.

katie@goldstreamgazette.com