WAGGA residents have been put on alert as the city braces for the worst of this year’s flu outbreak.
The early bout of cold weather has seen a large number of patients visit their doctors, presenting with symptoms such as coughing and sneezing.
After an unseasonably cold summer and many people across the Riverina feeling physically and psychologically worn out after the recent flood event, Murrumbidgee Medicare Local practitioner Dr Lili Sadeg is recommending all residents get a flu shot.
“I’ve spoken to a few clients who were quite sick last year because they came in late,” she said.
This year’s vaccine contains two strains that protect against influenza A strains, H1N1 California and H3N2 Perth, and one strain that protects against the influenza B strain called Brisbane.
Though Dr Sadeg said patients may still get a few flu symptoms as the winter season progresses, any illness would be significantly less than that suffered by those who are not immunised.
“A lot of people are coming in with respiratory problems,” she said.
“It will be bad (this year) because it is a lot colder than usual.”
With medical experts concerned that this year’s flu outbreak could be severe if the H3N2 strain intensifies, hospitals across Australia have already reported admitting a greater number of patients with flu symptoms than usual.
“Pregnant women, parents of young children and the elderly, in particular, should be vaccinated against the flu, but everyone should consider having the vaccination to remain in optimum health,” Murrumbidgee Medicare Local chief executive officer Nancye Piercy said.