2018 flu sea­son pre­dicted to be the worst in a decade-

This year’s flu sea­son is pre­dicted to be one of the worst since 2008

The Western Star - - FRONT PAGE - Alexia Austin Alexia.Austin@west­ern­starnews.com

IT’S a com­mon re­ac­tion for res­i­dents in the south­west to grit their teeth and push through when it comes to the flu.

How­ever, this at­ti­tude cul­mi­nated in a three month night­mare for the Dixon fam­ily dur­ing last year’s flu sea­son.

For Barb and Ron­nie Dixon, who run the Walan­gar prop­erty be­tween St Ge­orge and Mitchell, the story started in the wait­ing room of a Bris­bane hos­pi­tal.

“We were trav­el­ling to Bris­bane a lot last year for my health­care,” Ms Dixon said.

“And we were al­ways sit­ting in the out­pa­tients sec­tion of the hos­pi­tal with peo­ple cough­ing all around us - and we are pretty sure that is where Ron­nie caught [the flu.]”

From there Mr Dixon’s health de­te­ri­o­rated.

“He spent a fort­night get­ting in and out of bed, try­ing to do some work, but feel­ing re­ally low,” Ms Dixon said.

“The next week he couldn’t even get out of bed, he felt that bad - and I wanted to take him into the hos­pi­tal, but he kept say­ing no - he was so stub­born.

“It was the worst I have ever seen him, he was very, very ill. He was cough­ing and cough­ing, he just couldn’t stop.

“When we fi­nally got him [to the doc­tor] they put him on a course of strong an­tibi­otics. He then had to go back for a sec­ond course of them later on.”

Ms Dixon said this year her fam­ily were first in line to get the flu shot.

“It changed his opin­ion on get­ting the flu shot. He has never had the flu nee­dle be­fore, and last week we went and got it done,” she said.

“He’s a strong per­son, but af­ter last year he wasn’t miss­ing out on it.”

Health­care re­ports in­di­cate that the 2017 flu sea­son will be dwarfed by this years, with the ram­pant dis­ease hav­ing al­ready struck down 3242 peo­ple since Jan­uary– al­most 300 more than this time last year.

It’s the busiest start to a year since 2008, with more than 36 peo­ple be­ing di­ag­nosed each day.

Staff at the SWHHS at­tended an in­oc­u­la­tion day on Fri­day.

SWHHS chief ex­ec­u­tive Linda Patat, re­ceived one of the first shots of the day.

“I didn’t even feel [the in­jec­tion] this year, it was less than a pinch,” Ms Patat said.

“I’ve been get­ting the flu shot yearly for the past ten years.

“I en­cour­age every­one to get one. I am an ad­vo­cate for mak­ing sure if you can pre­vent some­thing you may as well get in­jected.”

The flu vac­cine will be avail­able in phar­ma­cies and health cen­tres across the south­west from next week.

PHOTO: ALEXIA AUSTIN

GIVE IT A SHOT: SWHHS chief ex­ec­u­tive Linda Patat is all smiles as she gets her flu shot from nurse Nigel Barr at the Roma Hos­pi­tal on Fri­day.

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