Island Health has confirmed eight cases of Influenza in patients who have come to the hospitals for treatment. The cases have shown up in five different communities and seven people were so sick that they had to be admitted for treatment.

Central Vancouver Island’s Medical Health Officer, Dr. Paul Hassleback, says for this time of year, those numbers are par for the course in advance of the outbreaks that are bound to start happening.

“It’s still not too late to get the Influenza shot, which is the best protection,” says Hasselback. “This year we’ve given out more vaccines than in previous years.”

Hasselback says frequent hand-washing is also an effective way to avoid getting sick. If you do get the flu, he recommends staying home so you don’t spread it to others.

The Medical Health Officer for the Sunshine Coast, Dr. Paul Martiquet, says they haven’t had any outbreaks yet.

“We’ve actually had a fairly successful flu immunization campaign. I would say, of the vulnerable population, we’ve been able to get greater than 60 per cent vaccinated.”

Martiquet says those with underlying health problems, the elderly and young children should get the flu shot. It’s free for those over 65 and under six, as well as pregnant women, Aboriginal people, and anyone planning to visit a loved one in a health-care facility or taking family members to outpatient appointments. He says FluMist is also still available, which is taken nasally and doesn’t require getting shot, making it a popular choice for younger children.