A dramatic increase in the number of influenza cases in Orange has led to a reminder for people to get a flu shot and even people who have already had the flu this year should still get a shot.
A spokeswoman from Western NSW Local Health District said in the year to date there have been 237 reported flu cases in the Orange Local Government Area up from three cases in the same period last year.
Across the health district there have been 1129 cases of flu reported this year up from 86 cases in the same period last year.
The spokes woman said the increase in influenza activity was in line with activity across Australia and emergency departments were reporting higher than usual numbers of presentations for respiratory illnesses and influenza-like illness.
Absolutely it's never too late to get a flu shot, the flu season is well in its peak.Pharmacist in charge Mike Wehbi
There have been no reported deaths from influenza in Western NSW this year or in 2018, however across NSW four people have died in the past week from influenza bringing the annual total to 70 confirmed deaths in the state.
The spokeswoman said that all flu-related deaths in NSW this year have been people aged over 60.
The vaccination is free for children aged between six months and five years, Aboriginal people, pregnant women, people with serious underlying health conditions, and people aged 65 years and older, due to vulnerability and poorer outcomes if they get the flu,.
StarChem Discount Pharmacy pharmacist in charge Mike Wehbi said there have been a noticeable increase in the number of people presenting with flu related symptoms this year and the vaccine was important in limiting the spread of the virus.
"Absolutely it's never too late to get a flu shot, the flu season is well in its peak," Mr Wehbi said.
He said it would take two weeks for the vaccine to be effective after being administered.
"Basically it provides you with protection against four strains of the flu virus," he said.
"If it hasn't been done it's highly recommended to do it this year."
Flu shots are free for ...
- Children from six months up to five years of age
- Aboriginal people six months and older
- Pregnant women
- People with serious underlying health conditions
- People aged 65 years and older
Mr Wehbi said at StarChem people could walk-in off the street any day of the week to get a flu shot.
Flu symptoms include high fever, head aches, muscle aches and pains, chills and feeling tired.
Anyone who is sick should avoid visiting aged care centres, cough and sneeze into your elbow, wash your hands regularly, and stay home.
More information about reports of people with flu-like symptoms are available here.
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