Ready for ‘killer flu sea­son’

Flu cases three times higher than aver­age

Whitsunday Times - - NEWS -

LO­CAL news re­mains at the heart of what we do at the Whit­sun­day Times and our new-look web­site, launched this week, prom­ises to show­case the best of it even bet­ter.

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The nav­i­ga­tion panel along the top of the web­site gives you quick and easy EX­CLU­SIVE: QUEENS­LAND’S 2017 killer flu sea­son looks set to be dwarfed, with the ram­pant dis­ease hav­ing al­ready struck down 3242 peo­ple this year – 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.

Be­tween Jan­uary 1 and April 1 in 2017, there were 2961 cases, with the state then go­ing on to en­dure one of the worst in­fluenza sea­sons on record.

The Mackay Hos­pi­tal and Health Ser­vice – which in­cludes Proserpine and Bowen hos­pi­tals – has had 127 cases of in­fluenza so far in 2018, more than three times the aver­age for this time of year, ac­cord­ing to Queens­land Health.

While Queens­land Health has ad­vised peo­ple in cen­tral and south­ern parts of the state to have the flu jab from the mid to end of April, Brisbane doc­tor Deb Mills from Dr Deb the Travel Doc­tor says peo­ple should get it now.

“Ba­si­cally you can’t tell when the flu is go­ing to hit,” she said.

“If you wait (to get the vac­cine), it’s a bit like Rus­sian roulette.”

Dr Mills, who has al­ready ac­cess to sto­ries in sport, life­style, what’s on, jobs, mo­tor­ing, real es­tate, obit­u­ar­ies and clas­si­fieds (just use the scroll ar­rows to find all of them).

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As you would ex­pect, lo­cal news is given more promi­nence, while the best re­ceived her vac­cine, said Aus­tralia didn’t know enough about in­fluenza to be “fussy” about vac­ci­na­tion tim­ing.

“You never know when the thing is com­ing,” she said.

“What if the flu hits in May? I don’t think there’s any ma­jor dis­ad­van­tage in hav­ing it now.”

The most up-to-date data shows there were 183 peo­ple ad­mit­ted with the flu to Queens­land’s pub­lic and pri­vate acute hos­pi­tals in Jan­uary.

A Queens­land Health spokesman said sev­eral fac­tors might have con­trib­uted to the high num­ber of cases this year, in­clud­ing in­creased aware­ness and the num­ber of tests con­ducted in pub­lic lab­o­ra­to­ries hav­ing al­most dou­bled in the past few years.

The spokesman said the health author­ity was work­ing hard to pre­vent a re­peat of last year’s sea­son and was in­vest­ing more than $2.3 mil­lion to pro­tect com­mu­ni­ties.

“Our mes­sage re­mains the same – get vac­ci­nated ev­ery year be­cause it is the best way of pro­tect­ing your­self against the flu,” he said.

“Al­though get­ting vac­ci­nated is the most ef­fec­tive way of avoid­ing the sto­ries from around our net­work sit in the net­work news con­tainer, which floats down the page with you as you scroll.

In each of our sec­tions, in­clud­ing busi­ness, en­ter­tain­ment, life­style, jobs or mo­tor­ing, lo­cal news and ad­ver­tise­ments are given pri­or­ity on the left with net­work (state and na­tional) sto­ries on the right hand side.

As you scroll down, the rel­e­vant net­work con­tent will fol­low.

You will also find our videos, both lo­cal and net­work, have a more prom­i­nent home. Weekly to­tals for Mackay Hos­pi­tal and Health Ser­vice: 12 lab con­firmed in­fluenza cases 17 cases 18 cases 6 cases (Source: Queens­land Health)

flu, we should not ig­nore ba­sic prac­tices such as proper hand-wash­ing, cov­er­ing a cough with a tis­sue or our arm, and stay­ing home when we’re sick.”

Queens­land’s chief health of­fi­cer Dr Jean­nette Young said the 2018 gov­ern­ment-funded vac­cine would be avail­able around mid-April for all chil­dren aged six months to less than five years, all adults 65 years and older, all preg­nant women, all Abo­rig­i­nal and Tor­res Strait Is­lander peo­ple 15 years and older, and all in­di­vid­u­als six months and older with med­i­cal con­di­tions.

“Some providers are now ad­ver­tis­ing in­fluenza vac­ci­na­tion in the pri­vate mar­ket – it is rec­om­mended that Queens­lan­ders dis­cuss the tim­ing of their vac­ci­na­tion with their

Our ar­ti­cle pages have also been im­proved with cleaner lay­outs to show­case our best sto­ries, pho­to­graphs and videos.

You will no­tice there are easy ways to share sto­ries with oth­ers on Face­book or Twit­ter as well as dive straight to the com­ments to see what’s be­ing said and add your own thoughts.

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That will take you to a topic page and on the top right hand side of the page you can fol­low that topic – mean­ing you will get alerts im­mu­ni­sa­tion provider,” she said.

No one who was ad­mit­ted to hos­pi­tal in Jan­uary this year with a “prin­ci­pal di­ag­no­sis” of in­fluenza died.

Owner of Good­ness Gra­cious, He­len Pike, said pre­ven­tion was the best rem­edy.

“I vir­tu­ally tell peo­ple to build their im­mune sys­tem now to es­cape the flu,” she said. to your de­vices when new sto­ries are pub­lished.

Of course, we will be look­ing to make on­go­ing

For chil­dren, Ms Pike rec­om­mends “olive leaf ex­tract and good qual­ity vi­ta­min C drinks, the fresh stuff not re­con­sti­tuted stuff”.

As for keep­ing her­self free of cold and flu, Ms Pike adds a few drops of oregano oil in her wa­ter bot­tle.

“Oregano oil in your wa­ter or on the soles of your feet at night is a good pre­ven­ta­tive or can speed up re­cov­ery,” she said. im­prove­ments to our site so would love to hear your feed­back via NRM.Dig­i­tal@ news­re­gional­me­dia.com.au.

Well­ness Cen­tre Proserpine’s res­i­dent natur­opath Kiera Hin­shaw said acupunc­ture was good for the im­mune sys­tem to help re­lieve coughs and points could be trig­gered to build the im­mune sys­tem.

“Fresh air, sun­light and wa­ter is the best medicine if you con­tract the flu,” she said. — Do­manii Cameron and Tamera Fran­cis

PHOTO: TAMERA FRAN­CIS

FLU PRE­PARED: Good­ness Gra­cious owner He­len Pike with some im­mune boost­ers in her shop.

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