PORT MOODY If youve had it already, you can probably attest to just how awful it is to get the stomach bug making the rounds.
This years strain of the norovirus is particularly bad, with health officials across the province reporting hundreds of cases of the infection in each community.
The virus has also spread to Eagle Ridge Hospital in Port Moody, leading Fraser Health to close admissions to one ward in the facility.
Tasleem Juma, a spokesperson for the health authority, said the norovirus outbreak in the hospital is a reflection of whats happening in the community.
Were seeing this right across the entire province, she told The NOW.
Juma explained an outbreak is defined as three or more people getting sick from an infection.
She said calling an outbreak allows hospital officials to put in place protocols for infection control, which means closing a ward to admission and enhanced cleaning of an infected area.
Patients are still being treated on the ward at Eagle Ridge, but the sick are being separated from the healthy to stop the transmission of the virus.
Were hoping well be able to reopen the ward as quickly as possible but that wont happen until were confident transmission wont occur to other patients, Juma said.
Fraser Health couldnt give a specific number for patients at the hospital or in the community whove fallen ill with the virus.
Juma noted its not unusual for norovirus to make an unwelcome appearance during the winter months, but this particular strain is new and people havent built up immunity.
Norovirus, which is a gastrointestinal illness and not a stomach flu, which it is commonly referred to as, is highly contagious and can spread easily.
Symptoms include vomiting and diarrhea, which can last up to a couple of days.
If you are one of the unlucky ones to battle a bout of the brutal bug, health officials recommend you stay home, get plenty of rest and drink plenty of liquids.
Its also recommended people practixe a strict hand-washing regiment to help stop the spread of the virus.
While the norovirus is doing its best to ruin many peoples new year, cases of the seasonal flu are also on the rise.
Juma suggested the health authority is seeing an increase in flu cases throughout the health system.
She said the best defense against the flu, which is a respiratory infection, is to get a flu shot.
Health officials add its not too late to get the shot, and there are plenty of vaccines available for the public.
To find a flu clinic near you, visit www.health.gov.bc.ca/flu.
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