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Already strained hospitals across New South Wales are braced for a resource-stretching “triple threat” and “horror flu season” this winter, authorities have warned.
Yearly flu cases in the state are now rising fast and closing in on 15,000, with 3349 people going to hospital emergency departments with influenza-like illness.
High COVID-19 cases, a surge in flu patients and staff off through illness was piling pressure on hospitals and ambulances, Health Minister Brad Hazzard said.
A lab technician works with cultures of the influenza virus.
A lab technician works with cultures of the influenza virus. (The Age / Melanie Faith Dove)

“NSW Health has been warning us for months of the likelihood of a horror flu season,” Hazzard said.

“With almost no exposure to flu these past two years, it is imperative we all get a flu jab to protect ourselves and the community.”

Health experts are strongly urging young children, particularly aged six months to five years old, to get vaccinated against flu.

“At least 10 per cent of children admitted to hospital with flu will be so sick that they need intensive care,” NSW Chief Paediatrician Dr Matt O’Meara said.

Emergency departments are struggling because of COVID-19 and influenza cases, NSW Health said.

NSW Health’s Susan Pearce urged people to not call triple zero unless they were seriously unwell or injured, or had a life-threatening medical emergency.

Gallery: Spanish Flu, the pandemic of 1919

Queensland is also suffering a surge in flu cases.

Yesterday, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said flu numbers were doubling every week in Queensland.

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