Wear a mask or get your flu shot.
That’s the message from Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) this morning if you plan on visiting Richmond Hospital or any of the authority’s facilities for the rest of the winter.
Flu, says VCH, causes the most deaths among vaccine-preventable diseases and, each year in Canada, approximately 3,500 people die from the flu and its complications.
Hospitalized patients and seniors in long-term care are usually more vulnerable than healthy adults, according to VCH.
“The flu can be devastating for our patients because many have chronic health problems including weakened immune systems and are more susceptible to serious illness,” said VCH's Medical Health Officer Dr. Meena Dawar.
“The best way to protect your loved ones in hospital is to get a flu shot, even if you're normally a healthy individual. The shot will not only protect you from getting the flu, but also the people around you.”
Visitors to VCH hospitals, long-term care homes, community health care centres and other health facilities from now to the end of the season - typically the end of March - are being asked to get a flu shot or wear a mask when visiting patients or residents.
Flu shots for visitors are free and can be obtained at your family doctor, walk-in clinics or pharmacies.
The ImmunizeBC website lists all clinics across B.C. at immunizebc.ca.
People who have not had a flu shot can obtain a surgical mask at a nursing station or outpatient reception desk.