Doctors are being flown into the Far North from interstate to help local health services cope with the region’s horror flu season. The shocking statistics reveal just how deadly it’s been.

DOCTORS are being flown into the Far North from interstate to help local health services cope with the region’s horror flu season.

Two patients have died in the Cairns region from influenza since the start of the year, as health professionals have been treating 40 new cases of the virus each week.

The latest figures from the Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service show there has been a total 1893 notified cases of flu in the region between December 31 and July 7 — more than six times the average for this time of the year.

Mobile GP service House Call Doctor has been treating a record number of families across Cairns where parents and children have been struck down with the infectious disease.

The company says flu-related cases involving children across Cairns rose 25 per cent in the past week, with doctors reporting at least six families where everyone in the household was sick.

House Call Doctor chief executive Wayne Ormond said the company was rostering on as many extra doctors as possible to try and cope with the increased demand.

He said the company, which began a nationwide recruitment drive last month, had also begun flying doctors in from interstate to boost local resources.

“If you haven’t had your flu shot or had your children vaccinated, visit your GP,” he said.

“Children are heading back to school.

“The worst of the flu season is ahead of us and children — particularly younger children — are susceptible to potentially fatal complications.”

CHHHS executive director of Cairns services, Tina Chinery, said the service was working with expert clinicians on a clinical redesign to improve patient flow across Cairns Hospital.

“We have increased the number of permanent nursing staff for the emergency

department,” she said.

“We are using additional staff in the hospital to ensure all shifts are adequately covered during periods of peak demand.”

How to avoid the flu

The flu spreads really easily.

Health officials advise those who are sick to stay home, rest and recover.

If you are sick, do not go to school or uni, don’t go to work — stay home, and be sure to wash your hands regularly and cough into a tissue.

Vaccination is the best protection against flu.

Far North Queenslanders are encouraged to book in to get their flu vaccine through their GP or local pharmacy.

Original Source: The Daily Telegraph | 15 July 2019

Also published in: Geelong Advertiser, Gold Coast Bulletin, The Mercury, Herald Sun, Adelaide Now, Brisbane Courier-Mail, Cairns Post and Townsville Bulletin