Peak flu season hasn’t even begun, and already doctors are seeing an alarming number of sick patients.
After-hours doctors are warning Gold Coast residents not to become complacent, after responding to hundreds of cases of flu over recent weeks and warning the worst of the season is yet to come.
House Call Doctor has seen a spike in the number of flu cases since winter began – on the Gold Coast, more than 500 patients were visited in a week, with at least 1 in 5 presenting with flu or flu-like symptoms.
House Call Doctor Chief Operating Officer Craig Glover said the service had been rostering on extra doctors, cars and staff to meet the expected increase in calls for medical assistance over the cooler months.
“During last year’s pandemic flu season, all medical clinics, hospital Emergency Departments and after-hours doctor services were run off their feet trying to answer calls for treatment,” Mr Glover said.
“Worryingly, our doctors responded to a higher percentage of flu-related cases in the lead up and start to winter this year than last.
“House Call Doctor professionals treat a range of illnesses and symptoms, including headache, tonsillitis, stomach pain, nausea, minor injuries and the flu. Our doctors can also provide scripts and enough medication to see a patient through to when a chemist opens.
“Importantly, our service also helps to relieve pressure from hospitals, by treating those who aren’t suffering life-threatening conditions outside Emergency Departments.”
The Australian flu season runs until September and is expected to peak in August.
Doctors have advised people suffering flu-like symptoms to stay at home to stop the virus spreading.
House Call Doctor has made more than 600,000 visits to homes, hotels, aged care facilities and nursing homes since it started in April 2015.
The service is Queensland’s largest after-hours healthcare provider, where patients needing urgent medical care can get treatment in their homes when their regular GP is closed.