VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – Flu sufferers are causing an uptick in calls to 811.  The provincial HealthLink BC phone line is seeing an increase in calls because of the nasty flu and Norovirus this season.

The phone line allows British Columbians to ask nurses questions. The nurses, in turn, try to help people manage symptoms at home and determine if going to the doctor or ER is necessary.

Marie Root with HealthLink says a growing number of calls are related to the flu and stomach flu thanks to a bad season for those virus strains.

“We’ve seen a little bit of an increase this year compared to last year.  It’s up four per cent for Norovirus related calls and a seven per cent increase over last year for influenza related calls,” she explains.

“We’ve had 9,770 calls related to Norovirus and we’ve had just over 8,000 calls related to the flu (since the season started in mid-November),” she continues.

“We roughly get about 1,900 calls per day.  On the busiest day of the week, which is generally Tuesday for us, flu-related calls represent just under 16 percent of all our calls,” says Root.

A third of all flu calls are from worried parents who have children with a fever.