Top tips to stay healthy during the flu season

Learn what you can to do protect yourself and others during flu season

Frequent hand washing can help stop the spread of influenza.

Frequent hand washing can help stop the spread of influenza.

Ministry of Health

With influenza season right around the corner, it’s time to stock up on tissues and hand sanitizer and learn what you can to do protect yourself and others.

Get the flu shot

The number one way to prevent the flu and its complications is the influenza vaccine. It’s safe, effective and free to many British Columbians including children, seniors, pregnant women, those with chronic diseases and more.

As well, B.C.’s Influenza Control Program is starting up again to protect those most vulnerable to the flu. By Dec. 1, 2015, health-care workers and visitors to health-care facilities need to be either vaccinated, which is free for them, or wear a mask when in patient care areas.

By Nov. 2, 2015, the flu shot will be available throughout the province at public health clinics, physicians’ offices, travel clinics and pharmacies.

To find a flu clinic closest to you, call 8-1-1 or visit Immunize B.C.’s Influenza Clinic Locator:

Get in early to get the shot and give yourself and others the best chance at a healthy season.

Take everyday actions to stop the spread of germs

In addition to being vaccinated, there are other important steps you can take to protect yourself.

Wash your hands frequently, cough or sneeze into a tissue or your elbow (if a tissue is not available) and avoid touching your face.

If you do get sick, stay home and avoid social occasions. If possible, set out tissue boxes, trash bins and hand sanitizer around your home or work to make it easier for those around you to stop the spread of germs.

Take antiviral drugs if your doctor prescribes them

If you think you are coming down with influenza and have an underlying illness, talk to your doctor to ask about whether you should take an antiviral drug.

Antivirals may reduce the adverse effects of the flu in people who are at a high risk of complications, such as young children or seniors, pregnant women, people with respiratory problems or those who have other underlying conditions.

To learn more about influenza and the vaccine, visit: