Patricia Daly | January 11th, 2017
Flu season is upon us in VCH, and you may have heard that this season is a nasty one compared to the last couple of years. That’s because the flu strain circulating this year is an influenza A H3N2 strain, which typically affects the frail elderly most severely. It is also the type of influenza strain most likely to cause outbreaks in residential care and other health care facilities.
Since the start of December 2016, there have been 18 confirmed influenza A outbreaks in acute care and residential care facilities in VCH, including VCH and contracted facilities. Eleven of these have been reported in the last week alone.
The good news is that the influenza A H3N2 strain contained in this season’s influenza vaccine is a very good match for the strain circulating. However, we know that frail elderly people and those patients with chronic conditions do not respond well to flu vaccination because of their weakened immune systems. The best way of protecting them is to make sure those people around them are vaccinated, to decrease the chances that they will be exposed to this serious virus. This includes all health care workers working in acute care, residential care facilities and community facilities.
If you have not been vaccinated, it is not too late to get your flu shot. It is available at your family doctor, pharmacy, and walk-in clinics. Remember to report your flu shot after vaccination at https://flu.vch.ca/. Physicians (including physicians, dentists, midwives, psychologists, podiatrists, and denturists and nurse practitioners and fellows) report at medicalstaffhealth.vch.ca. For those of you who choose not to be vaccinated, remember to wear a procedural mask in all patient care areas at work for the remainder of the flu season to protect your patients and clients.
More information is available at www.vch.ca/staff-flu.