This year’s flu season could go down as one of the worst on record, with the state currently at the peak of a long season.
More than 11,300 cases of influenza have been confirmed across the state, and Brimbank homes and business’s have not been immune.
Medical One Taylors Lakes practice manager Kim Robinson said the flu season was getting longer every year and did not peak until August.
“We haven’t been much busier, but flu season starts in March now so there are more cases coming through,” Ms Robinson said. “I think people are more aware of it, and the strains of flu are more extreme so more people come through the doors. The season doesn’t peak until August so that is a long season.”
Ms Robinson said it was pleasing to see vaccination levels increasing in line with the extended flu season.
“We’ve had very high levels of vaccination, most of our patients come in and get a vaccine,” she said. “Vaccines are still the best preventative measure, along with good hand washing and hygiene.”
Sunshine Hospital said anecdotally there were more cases of influenza this year compared with recent years, but could not provide specific numbers as testing is not conducted in all cases.
The Department of Health and Human Services said there had also been a spike in flu outbreaks, particularly in aged care facilities, with 208 respiratory outbreaks notified this year compared to 104 for the same period last year.
Victoria’s chief health officer Professor Charles Guest said with at least two months to go in the flu season it was important to remain vigilant.
“The most common symptoms of the flu are sudden high fever, a dry cough, body aches, and feeling very tired and weak,” Professor Guest said.
“Anyone sick with the flu should avoid visiting loved ones in aged care or in hospital, as it can spread quickly and be very serious.
“Vaccination is also vital in stopping the spread of influenza. With about two months of the flu season to go, it is still not too late to get your flu shot.”