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Still time to stop the flu

Saturday, 11th July, 2015

Amcal Netting Chemist Intern Pharmacist Nam Dam with the flu vaccine ready and waiting for locals to come and get it. PICTURE: Emily Roberts Amcal Netting Chemist Intern Pharmacist Nam Dam with the flu vaccine ready and waiting for locals to come and get it. PICTURE: Emily Roberts

By Emily Roberts

There has been a jump in locals with flu-like symptoms and everyone is being reminded that it is not too late to get your flu shot.

New statistics have shown the number of flu cases in Australia is up by over 50 per cent in 2015 as compared to the same time last year.

Minister for Health Sussan Ley said 14,124 flu cases had been reported so far this year across Australia as compared to 9,258 cases at the same time in 2014 including almost 2,000 cases in the past week.

Ms Ley said vaccination was the single most effective way to protect against the flu, which contributed to over 3,000 Australian deaths annually.

“Last year’s flu season was one of the worst on record and we have already seen a 50 per cent increase or almost 5,000 additional cases across Australia so far this year,” Ms Ley said.

Acting co-ordinator for Communicable Diseases at the Far West Local Health District, Kath Seward said it was the time of year for increased flu cases.

“It is difficult to monitor properly, but anecdotally there has been increased presentations.

“It is really important to vaccinate and it’s not too late.”

Mrs Seward said that people may be eligible for free vaccines.

“Talk to your GP about if you are eligible,” she said.

“Think about not just yourself, but others. Who can you transmit flu-like symptoms to?”

She said it was important for health care workers to be vaccinated.

“Also, if you are sick stay home, ring your GP before you go to let them know you are sick and wear a face mask.

“Be sure to use proper cough etiquette and get the flu shot.

“It is not a live vaccine and it can protect you from the virulent flu.

“However, it won’t stop the common cold.”

Mrs Seward said she is available to chat about the vaccine for people who want more information.

The flu vaccine is free to everyone 65 and over, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, those aged between 6 months to under five years, pregnant women and anyone aged six months and over with certain chronic conditions. Flu shots for these at-risk groups are funded by the government through the Immunise Australia Program.

Speak to you GP or immunisation provider for more information about eligibility for the free vaccine.

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