THERE have been almost three times as many cases of influenza in Bathurst this year, making it even more important that people get vaccinated.
A Western NSW Local Health District (WNSWLHD) spokesperson said that there had been 229 cases of influenza reported in the district, with 41 of them coming from the Bathurst Local Government Area.
There were only 14 cases in Bathurst during the same period last year and 48 across the WNSWLHD.
There have been no deaths in the health district area, however around 100 deaths have been caused by influenza across Australia this year.
"The WNSWLHD is seeing a higher than usual Influenza activity across the district, which is in line with the activity across Australia," the spokesperson said.
"Emergency Departments are continuing to report higher than usual numbers of presentations for respiratory illnesses and influenza-like illness."
Across NSW there were over 10,000 confirmed cases of influenza to the end of April this year, compared to less than 4000 for the same period in 2018.
The symptoms of influenza include a fever, cough and runny nose.
Anyone who thinks they may have the flu should try to avoid coming into contact with other people, particularly the elderly.
"If you have symptoms of flu it's important to prevent the spread by coughing and sneezing into your elbow, washing your hands regularly, and staying home if you're unwell," the WNSWLHD spokesperson said.
People who haven't had the flu vaccine still have time to get it, with some eligible for a free shot.
"Everyone is being encouraged to get the flu vaccination each year. April and May is the best time to get vaccinated against flu, but it's never too late while influenza is circulating," the spokesperson said.
"There are a number of people that can receive the influenza vaccination free of charge. These groups of people are generally those that have poorer outcomes if they acquire the flu.
"People eligible for a free influenza vaccine include children from six months up to five years of age, Aboriginal people six months and older, pregnant women, people with serious underlying health conditions, and people aged 65 years and older."
To date, NSW Health has distributed almost two million doses of government-funded influenza vaccine to GPs, hospitals, Aboriginal medical services and children's vaccination clinics, including 1.1 million for people 65 and over.
This follows the NSW Government's investment of $130 million in the 2018-19 Immunisation Program budget.