It is influenza season and many with flu-like symptoms may be wondering about the best way to seek medical attention. If you have influenza, you can be highly infectious and an unnecessary visit to the emergency room, clinic or doctor's office, could put others at risk. Calling 8-1-1 from the comfort of home provides 24-hour access to professional medical advice while also helping reduce the spread of the flu.
When you call 8-1-1, you will speak to a health services representative who will direct your call to a registered nurse. Registered nurses are available at any time of the day or night, every day of the year. They are able to assess your symptoms over the phone and advise if you need to be visiting your doctor or going to the hospital. Translation services are also available upon request in more than 130 languages.
8-1-1 is a free-of-charge health information and advice phone line available in British Columbia. The 8-1-1 phone line is operated out of HealthLink BC, which is part of the Ministry of Health. 8-1-1 provides a number of additional services including access to pharmacists, dieticians and health service representatives who can help you find the closest services to where you live.
We encourage British Columbians, who are otherwise healthy, to call 8-1-1 before heading to a health care facility or calling an ambulance and to remember that the best way to stop the spread of the flu is to wash your hands and stay home if you feel sick.
Immunize BC: www.immunizebc.ca
BC Centre for Disease Control: www.bccdc.ca
Media Relations Manager
Ministry of Health
250 952-1887 (media line)