Northern Health confirms “respiratory illness” in Chetwynd & Northeast B.C.

CHETWYND, B.C. – Northern Health has confirmed what they are calling a common respiratory illness is circulating in the northeast B.C. with the main focus in the community of Chetwynd.

Although Northern Health hasn’t released any information about how many people have become sick or the extent of their illness, they have said it is affecting a number of children and families in the Peace and specifically Chetwynd.  The symptoms are influenza-like, which Northern Health is typical for this time of year.

Viruses are generally spread easily among children, especially during the peak season, but most children who become ill make a full recovery without any medical help. Seniors and people of any age with underlying medical conditions, especially heart and lung conditions are at a higher risk for severe complications of influenza and other respiratory viruses, such as Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV).

“We know that viruses spread more easily among young children, especially during peak season for these illnesses; and we understand the concerns around cases affecting children in the community,” said Dr. Raina Fumerton, Medical Health Officer, Northern Health. “However, we would like to offer assurances that complications and death due to influenza and influenza-like illnesses are rare in children who have no underlying medical conditions. It may happen, but it is rare.”

The Chetwynd Primary Care Clinic remains open, but is seeing an increase in visits due to this increase in respiratory illness in the community.  Residents of Chetwynd who wish to arrange a flu shot should call the Chetwynd Primary Care Clinic at 250-788-7300.  Local pharmacists will deliver vaccinations for clients over the age of 5

Northern Health has released the following tips to help reduce your risk of getting the flu:

  • Get plenty of rest and fluids if you’re sick with influenza-like illness. Most people will recover on their own at home. Seek medical care if there is trouble breathing, pain in the chest or a high fever that does not get better after 3-4 days.
  • People at high risk of complications who experience influenza-like illness should seek medical care without delay. Their doctor may want to prescribe a drug that must be given early to be effective.
  • Staying home if you’re sick – You don’t want to spread the flu to your classmates, colleagues, or friends. Make sure to rest and get better before returning to work or school.
  • Practicing frequent and proper hand hygiene – Use alcohol based hand sanitizer regularly and make sure to wash your hands appropriately (wet your hands, scrub with soap for 20 seconds, rinse off your hands, dry your hands thoroughly, and use the paper towel to open and close the door).
  • Observing coughing and sneezing etiquette – Cough or sneeze into your shoulder, not onto your hand or in the air. Make sure to wash your hands after!
  • Get the flu shot – Protective effects from the flu shot occur approximately two weeks after receiving it. The BC Centre for Disease Control has noted the main kind of flu found this year is included in this year’s vaccine, meaning people will be better protected if they are vaccinated.

If you have any further information about the extent of this in the community of Chetwynd, contact us by email news@moosefm.ca.