Don’t soldier on – stay home this flu season

Western Sydney LHD has had the highest number of flu cases in the state so far this year.

As western Sydney continues to be hit by a killer flu season, those who are sick are urged to stay home and keep any infection to themselves.

70 people have died from influenza in NSW this year, and there have been more than 45,000 laboratory-confirmed influenza cases across the state – higher than the annual total for any year on record besides 2017.

Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) has been hit particularly hard with 9322 confirmed cases so far this year; the highest of any district.

The trend is still rising, with WSLHD confirming 1332 new cases last week alone. The actual number of cases is likely to be much higher.

This graph of ED admission for influenza-like illnesses shows the 2019 flu season (in black) has risen much earlier than previous years.

WSLHD Public Health director Dr Shopna Bag has urged those who are sick to stay home, and follow other simple steps to prevent the spread of cold and flu.

“You may feel like you need to ‘soldier on’ but trust me, your workplace will be fine without you. Taking a week off is better than making the whole office sick,” Dr Bag said.

“Please take extra care around vulnerable people such as young children and the elderly. If you have any cold or flu symptoms then please stay away from schools, nursing homes and hospitals – unless you’re seeking medical help!”

Dr Bag said it’s not too late to receive one of the 2.4 million government-funded flu vaccines distributed across the state.

“You can also protect yourself and others by regularly washing your hands. And if you are sick, please remember to sneeze into your elbow,” she said.