It is important the community takes seriously the risks associated with the winter flu season, according to Southern NSW Local Health District. “The flu season is here and it is important that people, particularly vulnerable people, take care with regard to influenza. The flu virus is especially dangerous for elderly people, pregnant woman, Aboriginal people, very young children and people with underlying medical conditions,” Director Public Health, Tracey Oakman said. In general, the flu is worse than a common cold, and symptoms such as fever, body aches, extreme tiredness, and dry cough are more common and intense, and often start suddenly. Colds are usually milder than the flu and symptoms generally develop over a longer period. If you have the flu, or are around someone who does, it’s important to take the following steps; • Wash your hands regularly with soap and running water; • Turn away from others and cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough and sneeze, if a tissue is not available cough or sneeze into your elbow; • Avoid close contact with people who are coughing or have a fever; • Stay at home if you are sick and keep sick children at home from school and other activities. Mrs Oakman reminded those visiting friends and family in the hospital or aged care facilities to practice good hand hygiene by using the alcohol based gel or foam provided to reduce the spread of germs. "People who have flu symptoms should postpone visits to hospitals or aged care facilities until they have completely recovered. "Health District are also being vaccinated too to help protect our patients. Andrew Newton, Southern NSW Local Health District Chief Executive has set the example. Andrew was amongst the first to receive his flu vaccination at South East Regional Hospital last week."
Concerned parents and families can seek health advice and information via the free Health Direct Australia service, staffed by registered nurses 24-hours a day, on 1800 022 222 For a range of health information visit http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/Influenza/Pages/default.aspx