The number of recorded influenza cases has more than tripled compared tolast year, but health professionals believe the epidemic is winding down.
Latest Southern Country Health Service figures show there have been 101 cases confirmed in the South West, compared to 32 cases at the same time last year.
Of these, there have been 29 cases reported in Bunbury in comparison to three last year. Southern Country Health Service South West public health physician Dr Naru Pal said people needed to protect others from getting the disease.
‘‘People should not wait until the last moment to have a vaccination as it takes about two weeks for the vaccine to be fully protective,’’ he said.
‘‘By having a vaccination, you will not only be protecting yourself you will also be stopping this disease spreading in your own family and in the community.
There have been 15 recorded flu cases under the age of five so far this year, compared with only one at the same time last year.
Dr Pal urged parents to make sure they get their children vaccinated.
‘‘Of all vaccine preventable diseases, influenza is the leading cause of hospitalisation among Australian children under five years of age,’’ he said.
‘‘Children are also a main transmitter ofinfluenzain the household and in the community.
‘‘The single best way to protect against influenza and its potentially severe complications in children is to offer influenza vaccine each year.’’
Dr Pal said there were signs the flu activity was starting to decline with less people presenting themselves at hospitals and health services.
‘‘Anyone experiencing influenza symptoms should cover your face and nose with hand or a tissue when you cough or sneeze and throw used tissues in a rubbish bin and practice good hand hygiene by washing your hands thoroughly and often,’’ he said.
‘‘Stay at home, except to get medical care or for other necessities, until you’re well and wait at least 24 hours after your fever resolves so you that you are unlikely to infect other people.’’
For more information visit www.public.health.wa.gov.au.