If you plan to visit a health-care facility in the coming days and months, be prepared to wear a face mask if you haven’t had a flu shot.
Keeping your face covered is the recommendation of Fraser Health, at the request of the provincial government, which has set a policy for visitors and health workers alike.
The province now requires face masks for those not vaccinated against influenza.
In an email, Dixon Tam, senior consultant for public affairs, confirmed that Fraser Health is taking the same action as Vancouver Coastal in recommending face masks for those who have not been vaccinated.
With flu season well underway and children, seniors and people with compromised immune systems most at risk, the masks are seen as a way of curbing the spread of the flu.
“For the protection of our patients in hospital or residential care, we ask that family and friends who are visiting their loved ones in a Fraser Health facility to be vaccinated with a flu shot, and if they haven’t been vaccinated, to please wear a mask while in patient care areas. People who don’t have strong immune systems, seniors, young children, and pregnant women are most vulnerable to complications of influenza. Also, the flu can worsen symptoms of some chronic conditions,” Tam stated in an email.
The policy will be in place from now until the end of March and affects visitors and health care workers.
Influenza is spread from person to person by inhalation of tiny droplets produced when a person infected with influenza coughs, sneezes, laughs or sings.
It can also be spread by direct contact and by contact with infected respiratory secretions through objects, such as bed rails, facial tissue or utensils.
Hand washing is important to avoid spreading the flu and those not feeling well should avoid Fraser Health facilities, Tam further stated.