Jump in flu pa­tients a con­cern for hos­pi­tal

Tablelands Advertiser - - NEWS - Bron­wyn Wheatcroft

FLU sea­son has hit the re­gion a lit­tle late this year with Ma­reeba and the Cairns and Hin­ter­land Hos­pi­tal Ser­vices hav­ing an in­crease of in­fluenza cases.

So far for 2017 there have been 712 cases of in­fluenza pre­sented in the Cairns and Hin­ter­land Hos­pi­tal and Health Ser­vice re­gion com­pared to 338 cases in 2015.

Ma­reeba Hos­pi­tal act­ing nurse unit man­ager Mary Vi­cary said that they’ve had an in­crease in pa­tient num­bers pre­sent­ing with in­fluenza, and she ex­pects this trend to con­tinue for a lit­tle while yet.

Ma­reeba Hos­pi­tal med­i­cal su­per­in­ten­dent Tjaart Grobbe­laar con­firmed that the hos­pi­tal had re­cently had an in­crease of cases.

“Last week was very busy with a large amount of pa­tients pre­sent­ing to the emer­gency de­part­ment with the flu but it has less­ened this week,” she said.

“The in­ci­dence is typ­i­cal for the flu sea­son al­though this year it is a bit later than usual.”

The Queens­land Gov­ern­ment recorded an ex­tra 4749 flu cases, iden­ti­fied in Queens­land over the past week, bring­ing the 2017 to­tal to 24,605.

Health Min­is­ter Cameron Dick said that fol­low­ing the re­cent spike in flu cases, it was timely to re­mind peo­ple that tak­ing sim­ple, sen­si­ble pre­cau­tions could still make a dif­fer­ence.

“Last Mon­day (Au­gust 14) was the busiest day on record for the QAS with an ex­tra 613 Triple Zero (000) calls fielded com­pared to the same day in 2016,” he said.

“The most sig­nif­i­cant growth has been in Code 1 cases, the most crit­i­cal pa­tients, where there has been a 22 per cent in­crease in the past week, com­pared to the same pe­riod last year.

“In the past fort­night the QAS has ex­pe­ri­enced eight of its 10 busiest days on record for Code 1 in­ci­dents.

QAS med­i­cal di­rec­tor Dr Stephen Rash­ford said many flu pa­tients were pre­sent­ing with car­diac and res­pi­ra­tory is­sues. “In a lot of cases they’re hav­ing trou­ble breath­ing and those sort of symp­toms re­quire a Code 1 re­sponse,” he said.

“We’re also see­ing pa­tients who have ex­pe­ri­enced sev­eral days of sick­ness at home.”

FLU TIPS

Queens­lan­ders are be­ing asked to con­sider some tips for the flu be­cause over the past week, an ex­tra 4,749 flu cases have been iden­ti­fied in Queens­land, bring­ing the 2017 to­tal to 24,605. 1. Get vac­ci­nated. 2. Con­sider see­ing a GP or call­ing a nurse for free on 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84), in­stead of go­ing to an emer­gency de­part­ment. 3. Wash your hands. 4. Stay home if you’re sick. 5. Cover your cough with a tis­sue or your arm. For more de­tails, phone 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84), your GP or im­mu­ni­sa­tion provider.

Ma­reeba Lions Club mem­ber Alan Car­roll, pres­i­dent De­nis McKin­ley and David Mills (right) pre­sented a cheque of $350 to help rider Jamie He­witt-Toms travel to Toowoomba to com­pete in the In­ter­school Na­tional Com­pe­ti­tion.

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