Flu fears drive hospital visits
WA’S horror flu season is creating a culture of fear among parents.
The rising death toll from this year’s “killer” flu had caused a surge in the number of children presenting to Perth Children’s Hospital in the past month.
Figures from the Department of Health show more than 4300 children were rushed to emergency departments around Perth between June 23 and July 7 but only 447 were admitted.
Thornlie mum Candice Sullivan said she rushed her middle child to Perth Children’s Hospital after her son fell ill suddenly.
“He had a high temperature, headache, and was lethargic and pale so we immediately took him to hospital,’’ she said.
“Thankfully it turned out to be a minor virus, but my feeling is that I’d rather be safe than sorry.”
So far this year, 43 per cent of children aged between six months and five years had received the influenza vaccination compared to just 15.1 per cent children last year.
Paediatrician and infectious diseases researcher Peter Richmond, from the Telethon Kids Institute, said the news headlines about the seemingly high number of life-threatening cases of flu this winter had been hard to miss.
“It’s impossible to hide from the germs and nasty bacteria that circulate throughout winter but the first and best line of defence is having the flu vaccine,” Professor Richmond said. “The younger you are, the higher the risk of being hospitalised and affected by the devastating complications of flu.
“This is because the first exposure to the virus is most likely to lead to infection, striking when the immune system is still developing strength.”