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Doctor issues flu warning to locals

Sunday, 10 March 2013
It’s that time of year again, when the dreaded flu virus wreaks havoc on the local population.

To tackle what is expected to be a bigger than usual flu season, local medical clinics are issuing warnings to patients about the adverse impacts of the flu.

Sonic HealthPlus physician Dr Bharathan Kanagaiyan said he expects this year’s flu season to be a bad one due to the severe strain of H3N2 influenza that spread across the northern hemisphere over winter.

“People need to remember the flu is not just a bad cold. In some instances it can be a serious illness that can result in hospitalisation, and sometimes death,” said Dr Kanagaiyan.

“Even in the best cases, people can expect to be bed-ridden for up to a week, unable to attend work or leave the house.”

The good news is the flu can help be prevented by receiving the most recent vaccine and paying extra attention to personal hygiene.

Each year the flu vaccine is adjusted to protect people against the new and emerging strains of the virus.

This year’s strain will be similar to last year’s, which particularly affects the elderly.

Dr Kanagaiyan said anyone at risk, such as people who are chronically ill, pregnant, the over-65s and indigenous people, should make sure they get vaccinated.

“In addition to this, people should pay extra attention to their personal hygiene. This includes washing your hands with soap, covering your mouth when coughing, throwing away used tissues and avoiding unnecessary touching of your eyes, mouth and nose”, said Dr Kanagaiyan.

Flu season in Australia runs from May to October.

The current flu vaccine will protect against influenza B, H3 flu and strains of swine flu that are resistant to Tamiflu.

Flu vaccines can be administered at a number of sites in Mount Isa, including Sonic HealthPlus’ Mine Site Clinic and Barkly Medical Centre.