The Western NSW Local Health District Communicable Diseases team is warning the public to be on high alert for influenza as the flu season hits the area.
The number of people affected by influenza is increasing and an aged care facility has experienced an outbreak. Outbreaks in aged care facilities are concerning as the elderly can suffer badly with the flu.
Emergency Departments across the district have seen an increase in people presenting with influenza like illnesses, however people are encouraged to see their GP when experiencing flu symptoms to avoid placing additional pressure on emergency departments.
It is not too late to be vaccinated against the flu - please speak to your Health Professional about vaccination. The flu vaccine is especially important for pregnant women, the elderly and anyone suffering from chronic health conditions. Free flu vaccine is still available to people at greater risk of complications from influenza, including all people aged 65 years and older, pregnant women, people with chronic illness and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and older.
People who don’t get vaccinated not only place themselves at risk of the flu and developing potentially serious illness but also put others at risk of infection. It is important that if you feel unwell that you are conscious of hygiene, especially hand washing. You should also consider staying away from the workplace/school/child care to prevent spreading flu to others.
The advice from NSW Health is to:
Defer visits to friends and relatives in aged care facilities and hospitals if you have cold or flu symptoms. Stay at home to avoid infecting others until you are well.
Catch it! Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
Bin it! Dispose of used tissues straight away.
Kill it! Wash your hands regularly, especially after you cough, sneeze or blow your nose.
If you think you may have influenza and you need to see a doctor ask for a mask to wear in the waiting room, and frequently use hand rub to avoid spreading germs to others.
Health advice and information is available via the free Health Direct Australia service, staffed by registered nurses 24-hours a day, on 1800 022 222. For a range of health information, go online to www.health.nsw.gov.au