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Kelowna  

Flu contributed to 15 deaths

The flu has hit the Okanagan hard this year, playing a role in the deaths of 15 elderly people in the Interior Health region.

Flu season is now in full swing, coming earlier and harder than last year's later start, according to Dr. Silvina Mema, medical health officer with IH.

There are flu outbreaks at Village at Mill Creek, SunPointe Village, Spring Valley Care Centre, David Lloyd Jones Home in Kelowna, and at Pine Acres Home in West Kelowna.

A full list of care homes in the region experiencing outbreaks can be found on the IH website.

Outbreaks are declared when there are at least two cases within seven days at a single facility.

“The influenza strain that we are seeing seems to be affecting more seniors, so that's why we have lots of outbreaks in residential care, nursing homes,” said Mema.

While the health authority is attributing 15 recent deaths, in part, to the flu, Mema says it's not entirely accurate to say the flu killed those people, as they may have had other health issues.

“But there are deaths associated to influenza, and there are more deaths than last year,” Mema said.

Flu season usually peaks in mid-January.

“I wouldn't be surprised if we continue to see an increase,” Mema said. “We need to be prepared.”

Mema says the spread of the flu can be minimized by staying home if you're sick, washing your hands often, sneezing into your sleeve, and disposing of tissues immediately after use.  



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