People are urged to get their flu vaccinations amid a significant rise in cases with 31 people people being diagnosed with influenza in Orange in the past week.
Western NSW Health District communicable diseases and immunisation manager Susan Turcato said people aged between six months and five years or over 65, pregnant women, Aboriginals could receive free vaccinations from their doctor.
Mrs Turcato said people with medical conditions such as diabetes, cardiac disease, respiratory diseases such as asthma, chronic neurological conditions and people with suppressed immunity could also see a doctor for a free influenza vaccine.
However, she also recommended all people aged from six months get a flu vaccination to protect themselves, their family, friends and community.
This season there's been a significant increase in the [number] of contagious influenza cases.Communicable diseases and immunisation manager Susan Turcato
She said influenza was "very debilitating" with symptoms including high fever, muscle aches and pains, chills, feeling "very very tired" and because it is so contagious affected people should stay home.
"This season there's been a significant increase in the [number] of contagious influenza cases," Mrs Turcato said.
"It's risen significantly in the last week or two with 31 cases occurring in Orange in the last seven days.
"We've to date 110 confirmed cases of influenza [in Orange], in 2018 the same time last year were three cases."
"It seems to be across the board, it's occurring in all age groups, particularly in children there seems to be a higher incidence."
North Orange Discount Drug Store pharmacist Tim Denham said about 500 customers had been vaccinated against influenza in the store so far this year but plenty of other customers also present to relieve flu symptoms.
"We have seen a significant increase in cold and influenza presentations in-store this year already," he said.
"It seems like almost half our daily customers are struggling with flu-like symptoms."
He said supplies were limited so people should be vaccinated as soon as possible but people should also boost their immune system by getting six to eight hours of sleep each night and drink six glasses of water per day.
For those with symptoms, he said people should cough into the bend of their elbow, regularly use hand sanitizer and use plenty of tissues.
Anyone with influenza who needs to see a doctor should call ahead.
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