How to fight the flu at peak season in the Okanagan

Flu season in full swing

Chelsea Powrie

Flu season has reached its peak in the Okanagan and health officials are still recommending getting vaccinated, and learning the signs for when the virus could become deadly. 

Interior Health public health nurse Adelle Jones says anyone who hasn't got the flu shot should still get it now, available at pharmacies and health centres.  

"It's the best protection we have, aside from self-things that we can do in terms of washing our hands really well, staying home if we're sick," Jones explained.

People often think they have a flu when it's just a cold, Jones said. The flu is far nastier. 

"They will say 'Well I was sick for a couple of days, I got the flu,' well that's not the flu," Jones said. "The flu will knock you back for two to three weeks. It may lead to pneumonia, it may lead to bronchitis."

Symptoms can become life-threatening, especially in vulnerable populations like babies and seniors. Jones listed some important warning signs to watch for when suffering with the flu that may mean it's time to go to the hospital. 

"If you can't get up, if you've been with this for a week or two weeks and it's not getting better," Jones said. "You're not able to keep anything down, eat very well ... you may require an IV for hydration, you may require antibiotics for pneumonia or bronchitis."

So far this season, Penticton Regional Hospital has seen six patients with serious flu, and Kelowna General Hospital has seen about 50.

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