As of Dec. 2, visitors to Island Health hospitals and healthcare facilities must wear masks to avoid spreading harmful flu germs to patients and staff. (Black Press File Photo)

As of Dec. 2, visitors to Island Health hospitals and healthcare facilities must wear masks to avoid spreading harmful flu germs to patients and staff. (Black Press File Photo)

Masks required for unvaccinated visitors to Vancouver Island hospitals

Island Health mask-up policy in effect starting Dec. 2

Island Health’s mask-up policy came into effect Monday in an effort to protect patients, staff and the public from getting the flu.

The policy requires all unvaccinated visitors to Island Health facilities to wear masks in patient care areas. Masks can be found near main entrances, handwashing stations or near reception areas.

READ ALSO: Flu season arrives early on Vancouver Island

The health authority asks that anyone who is ill does not visit loved ones in long-term care homes or health facilities until they are feeling better.

The flu is among the top 10 leading causes of death in Canada, estimated to kill 3,500 people every year. Symptoms include fever, headache, runny nose, sore throat, fatigue and cough. The flu is often used to describe colds or stomach viruses, but its symptoms usually last longer and are more severe than a cold.

Island Health says the best way to protect yourself and others from the flu is to get immunized. It also recommends cleaning your hands regularly, coughing or sneezing into your elbow, sleeve or a tissue and staying at home when you’re sick. For information on free flu shot eligibility and where to get immunized, visit islandhealth.ca/flu.

READ ALSO: Everything you need to know before getting the flu shot



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

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