Eastern Health has experienced one of the highest recorded rates of flu like presentations to emergency departments (EDs) during the past few weeks and is calling on general practitioners (GPs) to continue to proactively immunise and prioritise emergency departments for the most serious cases.
GPs are urged to:
- Continue to proactively immunise against the flu, including children and babies over 6 months of age.
- Brief front line staff on being aware of flu presentations and maintaining good infection control.
- Implement practice triage and infection control systems to avoid spread of the flu.
- Encourage hand hygiene by patients and staff.
- Set aside and make same day appointments available for urgent cases.
- Prioritise the most serious patients for emergency departments. When referring patients to hospital advise the facility so the patient can apply a mask on arrival and remain more than a metre from other patients.
- Ensure all staff are appropriately immunised.
- Review pandemic guidelines in preparation should the situation escalate.
- Immunising people who are at risk of complications from the flu is the most important way of reducing the number of flu infections and deaths.
- Influenza immunisation is recommended for people in known high-risk groups (see below).
- People who work or live with people who are at risk of serious complications should also be immunised to avoid spreading the flu.
Immunisation is recommended for the following people at higher risk of severe complications associated with the flu:
- pregnant women
- people aged over 65
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
- children younger than five, particularly those younger than two years of age
- people with chronic medical conditions.