Get flu shot urged as season hits hard
The latest figures from NSW Health, showed that Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) had 119 laboratory-confirmed influenza notifications in the final week of March, the highest in the state, prompting a reminder to book your flu jab now.
So far this year, two strains of influenza A virus are causing most of the infections in NSW, similar to the strains that circulated in 2018.
NSW Health’s Communicable Diseases director, Dr Vicky Sheppeard said while last year was the mildest flu season in five years, more than 650 people died from influenza-related illness in 2017.
“Thanks to many factors, including the vigilance of the community last year, we avoided repeating the deadly flu season of 2017,” she said.
“We must not be complacent this year.”
Urging parents of small children and people in high-risk groups to set a reminder now to book a flu jab, she said with 7,584 recorded flu cases in NSW during the warmer months, the best protection ahead of winter is to be vaccinated to build up resistance.
She said free vaccines will again be available through GPs for all children aged from six months to under five years of age.
“Flu vaccines have already been distributed to aged care facilities but for the wider population, supplies should be with their GP by May 1,” Dr Sheppeard said.
“Free flu vaccines are also available for pregnant women, Aboriginal people, those aged over 65, and anyone with conditions such as asthma, diabetes, and heart disease.”
People can also help reduce the spread of flu with precautions including sneezing into your elbow instead of your hands, washing hands regularly and staying home if you are sick.