There have been plenty of coughs, sneezes and lousy colds, but the good news is that the flu has had little impact so far this winter.
The peak flu season is traditionally around September, but in the lead-up there have been far fewer cases of flu compared to 2017.
Director of public health for the Murrumbidgee Local Health District, Tracey Oakman, said 2018 had been “really, really mild” so far in terms of confirmed cases.
“In the Murrumbidgee health district, we have had 70 cases of the flu so far this year, and most of those were between January and March,” Ms Oakman said.
“For the same period last year, there were 226 cases.
“So far this winter, there have been less than 30 cases.”
“It is quite significantly less than last year. We don’t know if we will skip the ‘peak period’ or if it will come later.”
In the Murrumbidgee region, there were eight cases of flu recorded for the week ending August 12 and only five in the week preceeding that.
Ms Oakman said the strain of flu which had been most commonly reported so far this year was one that was included in the flu vaccine.
“We don’t know yet whether we have just been lucky, or if the high vaccination rates have had an impact or if there is a difference in the virulence of the strain,” she said.
Ms Oakman said this winter there was “quite a lot of gastro about”, but nothing out of the ordinary.
“Gastro is pretty much a year-round thing, although we do tend to see more Norovirus cases in the winter and more cases of salmonella as the weather warms up,” she said.
Luke van der Rijt from Southcity Pharmacy said the pharmacy’s experiences over winter suggested the flu’s impact had so far been mild, although the usual September peak was still to come.
Mr van der Rijt said the 2017 flu season had been “unprecedented”, with 2018 more in line with what would be expected.
“Hopefully we won’t see a season like that this year,” he said.
Last year, there were more than 220,000 cases of flu reported in Australia, more than any other recorded year.
More than half of these – 102,309 – were reported in NSW and 2866 were in the Murrumbidgee.