Beaudesert doctors say flu season has arrived with a vengeance

FLU SEASON: Beaudesert Hospital clinicians Robert Strong and Dr Tim Devine are busy treating patients presenting with the flu. Photo: Larraine Sathicq
FLU SEASON: Beaudesert Hospital clinicians Robert Strong and Dr Tim Devine are busy treating patients presenting with the flu. Photo: Larraine Sathicq

RESIDENTS living in Beaudesert and across the Scenic Rim are being reminded to get a flu shot and stay at home if unwell with the number of flu cases already four times higher than the same time last year across the Metro South region.

Metro South Health Public Health Unit director Dr Kari Jarvinen said the region had experienced higher than usual seasonal flu activity this year compared with the past four years.

Dr Jarvinen said the higher numbers were attributed to an earlier start to the season than observed in previous years as well as flu numbers persisting at higher levels than usual after the last flu season.

"We have recorded more than 4400 notifications this year to date compared with just over 1000 for the same time last year," he said.

"While the number of notifications have been higher than usual, the number of hospitalisations has remained low over the last month."



Dr Jarvinen said the majority of cases have been caused by Influenza A (87 per cent), with fewer cases of Influenza B (17 per cent).

Beaudesert Hospital director of clinical services Dr John Britten said getting a flu shot, good hygiene and staying home when you're sick were simple but important ways to stop the spread of flu.

"Getting the flu shot is the best thing you can do to protect against flu, so if you haven't already, now's the time," Dr Britten said.

He said if you do get sick, wash your hands regularly, cough or sneeze into tissues, and keep your distance from others.

"Even if you feel okay, we all need to do our best to protect other members of the community who are particularly vulnerable - like young children and the elderly," he said.

Free government-funded vaccines

Free vaccines are available to eligible Queenslanders, including:

  • All children aged six months to less than five years
  • Pregnant women during any stage of pregnancy
  • Persons 65 years of age or older
  • All Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people 6 months of age and older
  • Persons six months of age or older who have certain medical conditions which increase the risk of influenza disease complications.

Ways to protect yourself and others

  • Get a flu shot
  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water or use an alcohol based hand gel