IH reports more flu cases over the years

Interior Health is reporting a sharp increase in confirmed cases of influenza over the last few flu seasons.

During the 2015-2016 flu season, there were 147 of these cases in the Okanagan. During the 2017-2018 season, that number more than tripled to 555.

Keep in mind: that's only counting those who actually checked in with their doctor and were diagnosed with the flu.

Medical Health Officer Karin Goodison says many of these cases are found in the senior population, who are particulary vulnerable to the H3N2 variation of influenza.

"Last year was not a great year for seniors," says Goodison. "We did have a lot of outbreaks in our senior care facilities. This year, we don't know exactly what we're going to get."

Right now, IH has 240,000 flu shots ready for distribution in the Okanagan.

"The vaccine is usually 40 to 60 percent effective at preventing influenza," says Goodison. "Even if it's not 100 percent effective, it does help prevent some of the symptoms, so you may have a milder disease, even if the match is not perfect."

A full list of immunization clinics can be found at immunizebc.ca/clinics