Des Scott has struggled with the flu for the past couple of weeks but stayed away from crowds to avoid spreading germs. “It’s been really bad,” he said.
Des Scott has struggled with the flu for the past couple of weeks but stayed away from crowds to avoid spreading germs. “It’s been really bad,” he said. Allan Reinikka

Flu to flow after Rocky show

ROCKHAMPTON’S Des Scott is among more than 100 Central Queenslanders who have coughed and spluttered their way through the 2011 flu season.

It’s been a lonely couple of weeks for Des, 76, who has kept away from crowds to make sure he doesn’t spread the flu.

With more than triple the number of confirmed influenza victims in the region so far this year and with winter now upon us, health authorities are bracing for a spike following this week’s show.

A Rockhampton doctor yesterday said the number of sufferers usually peaked in the week after the Rockhampton Show.

“If the number of people going to the show with flu was already higher, then you would expect a lot more cases,” said Capricornia Division of General Practice spokeswoman Dr Joan Chamberlain.

“We’ve certainly seen a pick up of cases over the past week.”

Health authorities are urging people to get their vaccination now, particularly those considered at a higher risk, such as the elderly and pregnant women.

Dr Chamberlain said the flu season in Rockhampton usually lasted about three months.

“It only takes about five days after the vaccination to get your immunity up,” she said.

She urged people suffering flu-like symptoms, such as high temperatures and running noses, to avoid crowded areas where possible, to take time off work and make sure they maintained high hygiene levels.

“Most workplaces prefer staff not to go in,” Dr Chamberlain said

Queensland’s Chief Health Officer, Dr Jeannette Young, said the higher than usual level of influenza cases across the state so far this year made vaccination vital for the coming months.

“Influenza is a highly contagious and potentially serious disease that can be spread through coughing and sneezing.”

Dr Young said there had been a large increase in flu cases this year.

Queensland Health provides more information about influenza, how to prevent its spread and vaccination for Queenslanders and their families at www.health.qld.gov.au/flu/.

 

Flu facts

Queensland Health this week said there had been 102 confirmed cases of influenza in Central Queensland.

This compares with 32 for the same time period last year.



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