Influenza and gastroenteritis outbreaks

Pharmacist Sean Dodd's advice.
Pharmacist Sean Dodd's advice.

Griffith is well and truly in the grips of the influenza season once again, with experts predicting it will only be downhill from here.

With the latest surveillance report from NSW Health Weekly showing influenza and gastroenteritis activity has increased, Griffith Pharmacist Sean Dodd encourages residents to stay vigilant.

“As far as personal hygiene, making sure people wash their hands before eating or cooking, as well as having plenty of fluids, it is especially hard in the Winter time to keep fluids up,” he said.

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

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

Pharmacist Sean Dodd from John Dodd Pharmacy gives us tips on how to stay healthy this during this spike.

“Avoiding situations that will put them in risk of getting the flu, so if you are sick, don’t visit those at risk, for example elderly relatives or friends, or your mate that has recently had a child.”

He says this time last year, aged-care facilities in Griffith were on lock-down, with quarantine procedures in place.

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“Flu shots can definitely help, they won’t work on all strands on the flu, but they will help with everything up until this point.”

“Unfortunately flu strands are very adaptive and you are never going to cover all of them with the flu shot, however it will prevent you from getting most of them.”

The latest NSW Health weekly influenza surveillance report, with data up to July 30, shows that influenza activity has increased further in the community with multiples strains of the influenza virus circulating.

“This year it seems as though it wasn’t as bad due to the warmer May, however certainly within the last few weeks as the colder weather kicked in we have seen an increase in the sale of Tamiflu and other cold and flu medicine,” Mr Dodd said.

NSW Health also warns of gastroenteritis, following an increase in viral gastroenteritis notifications and emergency department presentations across the state, with a 34 per cent increase for this time of year.