NSW Health is urging the community to get their flu vaccine following the early arrival of the flu season.
Australia's flu season has arrived early, prompting NSW Health to encourage community uptake of the flu vaccine.
Over the past month, Hunter New England Health have seen a dramatic increase in Influenza cases which is following trends of the northern hemisphere.
“It is similar to what was seen in the northern hemisphere, where they had a really bad flu season,” said Dr Peter Murray from Hunter New England Health.
“The only good news that came out of the early season was how well the constituents of the flu vaccine matched the circulating flu strains, meaning people who had the vaccine only suffered mild cases, resulting in fewer hospitalisations.”
People are reminded that unlike Covid-19, Influenza can be severe in young children.
Influenza can also be severe in other vulnerable populations like the elderly, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, and those who suffer from chronic lung conditions.
The flu vaccine can be easily booked at a pharmacy or GP and is free for the following priority groups:
Children aged 6 months to under five years.
People aged 65 and over.
Aboriginal people from 6 months of age.
Those with serious health conditions such as diabetes, cancer, immune disorders, obesity, severe asthma, kidney, heart, lung or liver disease.
This is also a great opportunity for the community to receive their latest Covid-19 Booster said Dr Murray.
“We know that respiratory viruses like flu and Covid-19, really do have an advantage in the winter months because they circulate very well and survive better on surfaces,” he said.
We can all take steps to help protect ourselves and our loved ones from COVID-19 and flu, including:
Stay up to date with your recommended flu and COVID-19 vaccinations.
Stay home if you have cold or flu symptoms.
Wear a mask in crowded, indoor places.
Get together outdoors or in large, well-ventilated spaces with open doors and windows.
Wash or sanitise your hands often.
Talk with your doctor now if you are at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 or influenza to make a plan about what to do if you get sick, including what test to take, and discussing if you are eligible for antiviral medicines.
Don’t visit people who are at higher risk of severe illness if you have cold or flu symptoms or have tested positive to COVID-19 or influenza.
Take a rapid antigen test to test for COVID-19 especially before visiting vulnerable loved ones.