Flat-out doctors urge preventative action

A home visit doctor service has been overwhelmed with flu patients in Cairns as the contagious disease takes a stranglehold across the state.

House Call Doctor responded to more than 25 cases of influenza across suburbs including Bayview Heights, Woree and Mt Sheridan during the Easter/Anzac Day break as Queensland’s flu rate soars to its highest in five years.

The after-hours GP service’s Ryan Harvey said the increase in flu patients was related to a drop in temperature.

“As winter fast approaches, we urge our patients to be aware of the risk of contracting the flu and recommend they take preventative measures to stay on top of their general health,” he said.

“The influenza virus is an airborne illness, most commonly passed on when people cough and release small droplets into the air.

“These droplets contain the virus and can land on people or surfaces, where it can easily be picked up. It is highly contagious.”

There have been more than 9100 cases of flu recorded across Queensland this year, with 1686 of those in the Cairns health district.

Health Minister Steven Miles said the high number of people already struck down by flu highlighted the importance of annual vaccination.

“While these figures do not necessarily predict the severity of traditional flu season ahead, they are concerning enough to encourage everyone to act now and protect themselves against the flu,” he said

“A flu shot is still the best way to avoid getting sick and ending up in hospital.”

In Queensland, the flu season is typically from June to September, with a peak around August. It generally takes 10-14 days to be fully protected against influenza after vaccination.

The State Government funds a childhood influenza program for all children aged from six months to under five years.

Additionally, a Commonwealth-funded free vaccination program is available to pregnant women, people over the age of 65, indigenous people six months and older, or those with medical conditions that may increase the risk of influenza complications.

More information can be found on the House Call Doctor website.

Original Source: Cairns Post | 27 April 2019