While winter in Victoria has come to a close, flu season on the island is far from over.

According to the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC), the province is being hit with an unusually late second wave of Influenza A.

In the past three weeks, the number of flu cases has increased by 50%, and has been particularly affecting long-term care facilities. While this year has seen a lower rate of Influenza A than in 2017-18 and 2016-17, the recent uptick could bring the illness up to its previous levels.

The BCCDC adds that it is too early to say whether or not this second wave of influenza has reached its peak yet.

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“We are seeing an upswing in influenza activity, including those requiring hospitalization and in long-term care facilities,” Cheryl Bloxham, Island Health, told Victoria Buzz.

“It is expected that most of the current influenza activity is the H3N2 strain, while early influenza was H1N1 strain.”

According to Island Health’s active outbreak list, there are 6 outbreaks of Influenza A occuring at provincially run centres on the island. The locations include, Amica Douglas Housein Victoria, Cowichan District Hospital in Duncan, Nanaimo Regional General Hospital in Nanaimo, and more in Duncan, and Parksville.

To protect yourself from the flu, Island Health offers a few easy to follow tips:

  • 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 from work or school if you are sick.
  • Reschedule visits to loved ones at Island Health facilities when you are sick.

While flu season is usually associated with winter, it’s usually not declared over until April. Health authorities say that annual flu shots are still beneficial for those who may not have gotten them this year.

Symptoms for Influenza A include cough, fever, and aches and pains.

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