Warning ahead of worrying flu season

The latest respiratory surveillance report has revealed more than 4700 people across the state have been diagnosed with the flu over the past four weeks, a 16 per cent increase compared with this time last year.

NSW hospitals have also had 480 admissions of people with influenza-like illness between January 6 and April 2024.

There were just 284 admissions in the same period in 2023.

The upcoming flu season is predicted to be just as bad, or worse, than 2023, with one-in three people tipped to get a cold or influenza.

Chief health officer Kerry Chant said more young children were admitted to intensive care with life-threatening complications from the flu in 2023.

Aussies are being urged to get their flu vaccination ahead of the colder months. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Andrew Henshaw

In order to prevent a repeat in 2024, Dr Chant is reminding families to get their flu vaccine before the season ramps up.

“It is a very quick and easy process to book in with your local doctor or pharmacist who can also administer your Covid-19 vaccine at the same time if recommended,” Dr Chant said.

“This simple act can help you and your family stay healthy this winter.”

Health experts are urging residents to book in to get the flu vaccine over concerns thousands could be hit with the illness over winter.

There are particular worries for those considers to be at a higher risk of severe illness, such as children aged between six months and five years, 65-year-olds and over, Aboriginal people from six months of age, pregnant women, and anyone with serious health conditions.

These vulnerable people are eligible for a free flu vaccine from their local GP or pharmacist.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk
The flu season is tipped to be worse than ever. Picture: Dan Peled / NCA NewsWire

NSW Health is also urging residents to consider getting a Covid booster at the same time as the flu vaccination.

NSW Premier Chris Minns said influenza could be life threatening as it was highly contagious.

“Especially for vulnerable groups such as young children, pregnant women, older adults and people who have chronic medical conditions,” Mr Minns said.

“Getting the flu jab is the best way to protect yourself and the wider community.”

Health Minister Ryan Park said the virus had started to increase across the country.

NSW chief health officer Kerry Chant and Premier Chris Minns are urging NSW residents to get vaccinated against the flu. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Monique Harmer

With the virus also expected to increase across NSW, Mr Park urged residents to get vaccinated to protect themselves and others.

Influenza hit at least 300,000 Australians in 2023 as the illness took a hold in the freer post-Covid pandemic world.

The nation’s cold and flu capitals:

1. Newcastle, NSW

2. Liverpool, NSW

3. Southport, QLD

4. Blacktown, NSW

5. Hornsby, NSW

6. Hurstville, NSW

7. Hillarys, WA

8. Tamworth, NSW

9. Orange, NSW

10. Fremantle, WA

Areas forecast for most cold and flu symptoms:

NSW: Newcastle, Liverpool, Blacktown

Queensland: Southport, Cairns, Hervey Bay

South Australia: Clovelly Park, Torrensville, Seaford

Tasmania: Launceston, Lindisfarne, Sandy Bay

Victoria: Warrnambool, Baxter, Prahran

Western Australia: Hillarys, Fremantle, Mirrabooka