Spike in flu cases

House Call Doctor is in in high demand in Townsville with many cases of flu being reported in the North Queensland capital.

Just under 140,000 cases of flu hit Australia in 2017 and 35,000 of those were in Queensland. Already the Department of Health has reported 5,269 cases so far this year, with the worst of the flu season still to come.

Medical experts are preparing for a spike in cases predicted for August and September. Dr Freyja Page, one of House Call Doctor’s Townsville GPs, said extra home doctors had been rostered on to help meet the increased demand as locals fall ill with the flu.

“Under normal circumstances we run between two to three cars a night, but certainly now we’re having up to four cars a night to cover the whole area,” Dr Page said.

“We’re expecting higher casualties than last year and we’re expecting that the virus this year will more contagious.

“So, you may be waiting for us more like an hour, from the previous half an hour, but we will get to people as soon as we can.”

Sometimes it can be difficult to know if you have a cold or a flu or when you should seek medical attention.

Experts say when you get the flu, you’ll know it, with symptoms including:

  • High fever
  • Aches and pains in the muscles and joints
  • Difficulty breathing

If you have a cold, you may only have a sore throat, cough and the sniffles for a week, then you’ll be back at work.

Even if you’re a fit and healthy adult, if the flu is not treated properly with rest or other therapies, you could be sick for up to four to six weeks or even longer.

Dr Page advises that if you do have the flu, avoid emergency rooms.

“I would suggest that if after two or three days you’re not getting better, your fevers are getting higher and you’re feeling generally more unwell, it is always a good idea to call House Call Doctor,” she said.

“We can make an assessment for you in your home, which I think is vital. If you’re out and about [you’re] potentially spreading the virus to others.”

There are two main strains of Influenza, A and B. One strain in particular is reportedly more prominent in Townsville.

“In Townsville, we’re currently seeing influenza A and then it breaks down into another strain, which is equally contagious and aggressive. This is why we’re pushing people to get vaccinated,” Dr Page says.

House Call Doctor is advising people to get the flu vaccine as even though you can still get the flu, you won’t be as severely affected by it and it won’t transmit to anyone else.

If you think you have flu symptoms, the best advice is to stay home and seek medical treatment.

Have you come down with flu this season?