Sniffles spread in Far North as flu season begins
HEALTHCARE professionals are warning against complacency as winter sniffles make a comeback - but they say a rise in cases around the Far North is not the flu.
As aged care homes across the state were forced into lockdown last week, an illness outbreak at Warrina Innisfail raised concerned the flu was spreading across the Cassowary Coast.
Warrina Innisfail CEO Peter Roberts confirmed the aged care facility had been impacted with a number of staff contracting a virus - which he did not label as the flu.
"We've had some cases here. Both with some of the residents and significant number of staff. So there's certainly some cases of this virus around," he said.
"It's impacting staff numbers, but we're continuing to be able to manage.
"We'd rather struggle a bit with our numbers rather than bring somebody on who might infect some of the residents."
Dr Rodney Catton of the town's largest GP clinic, Innisfail Family Health, said it was likely the symptoms were the common cold.
"It's an easy mistake to make, but we certainly haven't recorded any cases of the flu," he said.
"There are a number of different types of respiratory illnesses, and what we have had is quite a few present with upper respiratory bacterial infections - which can be mistaken for the flu."
North Cairns Calanna WholeHealth Pharmacy pharmacist Matthew Calanna said his chemist was prepared for and expecting a greater demand for flu vaccinations this year.
"Our stocks arrived (last week), and last year gave the demand a bit of a boost," he said.
"In the last couple of months there has been a bit of stuff going around, but I don't know if I would call it the flu, but more colds and chest infections. There has been a bit of complacency too with symptoms. I tend to find that I speak to people with symptoms and they haven't been tested yet, and recommend that they do.
"But it is important to keep getting tested, because as we've seen in Brisbane, it only takes one (COVID) case and it's chaos."
Mr Calanna said he would like to see masks become part of everyday life and a personal responsibility residents took upon themselves when they had any symptoms.
Originally published as Sniffles spread in Far North as flu season begins