Written by Dr. Aamir Bharmal, Medical Health Officer, Population and Public Health

Learn how to keep patients safe all flu season long with proper masking and hand hygiene – for both health care workers and hospital visitors.

We’re well into flu season and by now, all employees and medical staff should either have received their influenza immunization or be consistently masking while working in all patient care areas in our health care facilities.

Visitors to our facilities, however, may not be as aware of our influenza control policies. It’s up to all of us to ensure that visitors are reminded to wear a mask while visiting our patients if they are ill or have not received a flu shot.

As of December 1, our Influenza Control Program Policy came into effect. The policy requires all health care workers to wear a mask when in a patient care area during flu season if they have not received a flu shot.

Our policy also requires all visitors to hospitals to wear a mask during their stay if they have not received their flu shot. We ask that members of the public do not visit at all if they are ill.

Here’s how you can help us keep calm, educate visitors on our flu policy and keep our patients safe from flu.

Make sure there is adequate signage in your health care facility alerting all visitors to their obligation to mask while visiting their loved ones. We’ve designed several posters to alert visitors to our masking policy and we’ve made it easy for you to print, distribute and display posters at your site. You can download these posters as PDFs from our Influenza Resources web page. Please check with your manager or site leader about proper protocol for displaying signage at your site.

Regardless of whether you decide to vaccinate or mask, we can all do our part by following good hand hygiene. It’s important to ensure we wash our hands at each of the four key moments for hand hygiene: before initial contact with or treatment of each patient, after treating each patient, before undertaking a sterile procedure and after completing any procedure with a body fluid exposure risk.

In addition to washing hands frequently, remember to cough and sneeze into your sleeve and to stay home if you are sick. Remember, you can spread the virus from one day before to five days after symptoms start.

Not sure how to wear a mask properly? Watch this video for mask-wearing tips.

Haven’t reported yet? Here’s what to do.

1. Wear a mask. If you have not reported, or have reported that you will be wearing a mask this flu season, you need to wear a mask now, and continue to wear a mask for the remainder of the season, or until you report your flu shot.

2. Get your flu shot. You can still get your flu shot from your family doctor, pharmacy or walk-in clinic. Remember to bring your BC Care Card if you go to a pharmacy or walk-in clinic.

3. Report your decision. Once you have received your flu shot (regardless of where you received it) or have chosen to decline vaccination and wear a mask for the duration of the flu season, you need to report it. Here’s how:

How do I report?
You are a: Report your flu shot or decision to mask to:
Employee Influenzareporting.org
Physician/ Medical Staff Medicalstaffhealth.phsa.ca
Volunteer Volunteer manager or coordinator
Contractor Supervisor or manager
Student Instructor

Visit our Fraser Health influenza page and FH Pulse influenza page for more information or email your questions to influenzaquestions@fraserhealth.ca.

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