It may seem a little ironic but Dr John Carsley, one of VCH’s medical health officers, got the flu this year during the holidays. He wasn’t entirely convinced it was the flu, until it was confirmed by the lab, because his symptoms were reduced because he had had a flu shot.
John had a little fever, muscle aches and fatigue, which you normally don’t get when you have a cold, and no sore throat. He also had cough and congestion. Turns out it was confirmed as Influenza A/H3N2, the main type we are seeing right now. According to the BC Centre for Disease Control virtually all “A” flu strains they have tested show a mismatch from the vaccine, meaning this strain changed before the vaccine was created, so it won’t offer the same protection as usual. But if you have had your flu shot, like John, you would likely not experience the full brunt of the illness, with a shorter duration and milder symptoms.
You can still get the flu shot. VCH Public Health offers clinics through March. Or visit your family doctor, walk-in clinic, or a participating pharmacist.
We are seeing increased number of patients with influenza-like illness and a greater than usual number of flu outbreaks in our long term care facilities. In fact, this could prove this to be B.C.'s worst season in close to a decade.
All the more reason to get a flu shot and wash your hands frequently.