There have been 233 confirmed cases of influenza in Yass Valley, Goulburn Mulwaree and the Upper Lachlan Shire so far this year, according to the Southern NSW Local Health District (SNSWLHD).
The latest report shows 98 people have been diagnosed with the highly contagious respiratory illness in Goulburn Mulwaree, up from 26 reported cases for the entire 2018 year.
This year, there was an unusual increase in summer cases as well as an early start to flu season. Normally, flu season is in the winter months from June through to September or October. This makes data difficult to compare with the previous two years' influenza seasons, as well as there an increase in testing this year, an SNSWLHD spokesperson said.
"The 2018 flu season in the Goulburn Mulwaree, Yass Valley and Upper Lachlan areas was mild compared to 2017."
To July 14, there were 26 cases in the Upper Lachlan Shire and 109 in the Yass Valley.
The health district has urged people to immunise themselves against the flu and spreading the virus.
"The flu is worse than a common cold, and symptoms such as fever, body aches, extreme tiredness, and dry cough are more common and intense, and often start suddenly."
Across NSW, the latest influenza surveillance report shows there have been 41,545 diagnosed influenza cases so far this year, including 70 flu-related deaths.
"While vaccination is the best protection against flu, there are some simple steps to help infection spreading, such as:
- Wash your hands regularly with soap and running water
- Turn away from others and cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough and sneeze, if a tissue is not available cough or sneeze into your elbow
- Avoid close contact with people who are coughing or have a fever
- Stay at home if you are sick and keep sick children at home from school and other activities."
"People who have flu symptoms to postpone visits to hospitals or aged care facilities until they have completely recovered."
Flu shots are free for children aged six months to up to five years, pregnant women, Aboriginal people, those aged over 65, and anyone with medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes and heart disease.
Concerned parents and families can seek health advice and information via the free Health Direct Australia service, staffed by registered nurses 24-hours on 1800 022 222.