Doctors warn of influenza outbreak
THE Sunshine Coast has had more than 100 confirmed cases of influenza this year and doctors say it is only the tip of the iceberg.
The average for this time of year is 78 cases.
Australia-wide, more than 5000 cases of the H3N2 and Type B strains have already been confirmed and doctors warn that thousands more cases are going undiagnosed.
Queensland has been the worst affected state with 2536 cases - a 10% rise in diagnosed cases on this time last year.
So far, children under nine years have been the hardest hit but there have also been more cases among the elderly, as well as those aged 35- 44 years.
Sunshine Coast Health Unit public health specialist Dr Andrew Langley said this was the time of year when the numbers "kick upwards".
"The numbers on the Coast are not higher than normal, but we're really at the start of the increase," Dr Langley said.
"We expect the next two to three months to see higher numbers."
Dr Langley said it was too early to estimate how many cases the Coast could expect to see.
Influenza Specialist Group chairman Dr Alan Hampson said it was important that people protected themselves by regularly washing their hands, avoiding crowds and ensuring frequently touched household surfaces were kept clean.
He said they could also practise good flu etiquette by covering their mouths and noses with a tissue or sleeve when sneezing or coughing.
Dr Hampson said anyone who experienced flu symptoms, such as fever, body aches and pains, fatigue, cough and headache, should visit their GP for antiviral medications as soon as possible.
"If you have flu symptoms, we strongly advise you stay home from work or social situations," he said,
Dr Hampson said this could prevent colleagues, friends and family from catching the virus.
"And it will also aid your recovery," he said.
"Our latest research revealed 90% of Australians are soldiering on when sick, risking the health and potentially the lives of those around them.
"Bed rest is the best way to recover," Dr Hampson said.
"It can be very dangerous if people try to press on with their normal activities by taking over-the-counter medications."
- Confirmed cases this year to yesterday - 103
- Average cases on the Coast for this time of year to date - 78
- Coast cases in June - 41
- Coast cases in May - 15
- Total Australian cases for year to date - More than 5000
- Total Queensland cases for year to date - 2536
Source: Queensland Health