Flu season to ‘peak earlier than usual’ in the Riverina

The battle to stay warm during one of the coldest winters in recent history means the flu season is well and truly upon us.

It comes as the Murrumbidgee Local Health District (MLHD) warns the annual influenza season is tipped to peak earlier than usual.

While July numbers so far have the flu count at 35 laboratory-confirmed cases across the MLHD – mostly from Wagga and Griffith hospitals – we have almost eclipsed last year’s figure of 38 for the whole month.

Murrumbidgee Local Health District public health unit director Tracey Oakman expected this season’s peak to come in early August.

Ms Oakman said the usual flu season peak, where both GPs and emergency wards observe a spike in presentations, is later in August and in September

In August last year, 289 cases were recorded and another 520 in September, 2016.

Ms Oakman said residents needed to take precautions to stop the spread of influenza.

“People who do have the flu need to cover their mouth and nose when they are coughing,” she said. “Tissues need to be thrown away straight away and hands need to be washed regularly.

“Try to stay home unless you need to seek medical attention.

“If you do need to go to the doctor, call ahead to see if there is another room available to prevent (the potential of spreading the virus to other patients in the waiting room).”

Government website healthdirect says those suffering from the flu need to drink plenty of fluids and to maintain a healthy diet.