Region largely escapes flu, so far

AUSTRALIA has had its worst flu season ever in 2017, and more than half of the 88,000 cases have been recorded in NSW, but Tumut, Adelong and Batlow seem to have experienced mixed fortunes as a result.

Murrumbidgee Local Heath District Director of Public Health Tracey Oakman said there had been 40 hospital emergency department presentations of people with the flu throughout the LHD in the past week.

“This is not significantly high, but it is higher than this time last year,” Ms Oakman said. She said that there had been 409 presentations of people with symptoms that could have been flu in the LHD in this time.

“Of those, 17 were in the old Tumut Shire,” she said. “We believe it is peaking.”

However, there is good news in the Tumut, Adelong and Batlow area regarding the flu’s 2017 impact.

Jodie Walker, general manager of Bupa Aged Care Tumut, said the centre had escaped the outbreak.

“It mainly comes down to hand hygiene, which is very important,” she said.

“We’ve been very lucky; we’ve had no flu symptoms.”

It has been a similar story at Blakeney Lodge.

“We have been taking extra precautions, and we have emerged pretty unscathed,” a spokesperson said.

A spokesperson for Batlow Technology School said quite a few students had been sick there, and a spokesperson for Tumut Public School said there had been lots of absences, but that it hadn’t been any worse than any other year.

McAuley Catholic Central School assistant principal Kerrin Henderson said “we were okay.”

“We had a lot of colds and coughs, and we had one or two flu cases,” she said.

“We had high temperatures and things that kids couldn’t get rid of, but by and large we have done reasonably well.”

A spokesperson for Franklin Public School said some kids had been off with coughs, colds and runny noses, but was nothing out of the ordinary.

According to a spokesperson, St Mary’s Primary School at Batlow has had “not a good or a bad year, but an average year,” with some students suffering high temperatures and tummy bugs.

St Joseph’s Primary School’s flu season has been “average; nothing out of the ordinary; a fairly normal year.”

Meanwhile, Ms Oakman has strong advice for those wanting to minimize the flu’s impact.

“If you’ve got the flu, stay home, and if you go to see the doctor, asked to be put in a separate room to the other patients.

Don’t cough near people, use tissues and wash your hands.”