Western NSW Local Health District residents are being urged to prepare now to ensure they don’t fall victim to any Winter woes, and in particular being ready for the influenza season.
Following the northern hemisphere’s intense 2012/2013 winter season, the LHD is preparing for a potentially serious flu season, and is particularly concerned about the likelihood of three strains of influenza – the H1N1, H3N2 and B strains – all circulating at the same time.
“Our hospitals are equipped and preparing to manage the increased case load but we are urging people to be aware of how they can not only stay well during the influenza season but stay out of hospital,” said Western NSW LHD Chief Executive Scott McLachlan.
“You can never start preparing too early and working on a plan with your own doctor can help to reduce the severity of infection and flu symptoms. During winter months, people with colds often turn to emergency departments, which face a seasonally-high case load of serious respiratory conditions, including influenza, pneumonia and severe asthma attacks,” Mr McLachlan added.
To help avoid placing additional pressure on our hard-working emergency department teams, in the first instance, people with a cold or flu-like symptoms should see their GP or contact healthdirect (1800 022 222) to talk to a registered nurse.
All residents, particularly the high-risk and vulnerable are being urged to:
- Get a plan - if you have a chronic disease such as asthma, plan ahead (eg: preventative asthma medication can take six weeks to become effective)
- Get a jab - flu vaccine is free for people over 65 years of age; pregnant women; Aboriginal people aged 15 years or over; people with underlying medical conditions predisposing them to severe influenza
- Get a GP - if unwell, see your GP or call healthdirect (1800 022 222) to talk to a registered nurse
- Get well - wash your hands, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing and sneezing, remember to dispose of your tissues into a bin and stay at home if unwell
Bathurst GP, Dr Ross Wilson believes that by working together we can ensure better health outcomes for everyone this winter.
“Please plan ahead and take the time to visit your GP now, it can make a huge difference to how you cope with the winter months,” Dr Wilson said.
The Get Ready For Winter plan can be viewed at www.health.nsw.gov.au/getreadyforwinter
To arrange an interview please contact either Melissa Hamling on 0417-511-738 (Mon-Wed) or Rebekah Bullock on 0407-959-781.