Influenza in Northern NSW Local Health District

Influenza in Northern NSW Local Health District
The North Coast Public Health Unit is advising Northern NSW residents to take precautions against the spread of influenza over the holiday period as unseasonably high numbers of cases have been reported across the region in recent weeks.

There have been 771 laboratory-confirmed cases of influenza reported in residents of the Northern NSW Local Health District so far this year.

“While this is well below the 2,820 cases reported in the same period in 2017, the 130 cases reported in the last four weeks is well above the average for this time of year,” Paul Corben, Director North Coast Public Health Unit said.

“Frequent hand washing is one of the best lines of defence against flu, together with annual vaccination.”

You can help fight the spread of flu by:

  • Getting your flu vaccination annually
  • Coughing and sneezing into your elbow
  • Cleaning your hands
  • Stay home when sick.
“We encourage parents to take up the offer of the free vaccine for children under five, as children in this age group are particularly vulnerable to influenza,” Mr Corben said.

“Children being vaccinated for the first time require two doses of the vaccine, one month apart.”

By immunising younger children, those more vulnerable in the community will also be protected, including babies too young to receive a flu vaccine.

The flu vaccine is free for pregnant women, children up to five years of age and people over 65 years of age, Aboriginal people and those with medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes and heart problems.

The NSW Government is spending a record $22.75 million on state-wide immunisation programs this year. This includes $3.5 million for free flu shots to children up to five years of age and a $1.75 million immunisation and influenza prevention campaign.

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