HOLD OFF: Wide Bay Public Health Unit physician Margaret Young said over summer there had been higher than usual numbers of flu recorded across the Wide Bay.
HOLD OFF: Wide Bay Public Health Unit physician Margaret Young said over summer there had been higher than usual numbers of flu recorded across the Wide Bay. Max Fleet BUN110113FLU9

Hold off on flu jab as numbers climb

FLU never goes away.

But it's not clear if the peak of the flu season will be here sooner than normal.

During the lead up to the peak flu season, normally in late June or July, there is a steady build-up in cases until it peaks for about eight weeks then starts to fall away again.

Wide Bay Public Health Unit physician Margaret Young said over summer there had been higher than usual numbers of flu recorded across the Wide Bay.

Dr Young said the numbers were "bouncing around” and there hadn't been the steady "build-up”.

Year to date across Wide Bay there has been 159 laboratory recorded cases - twice as high as the five-year average which is 78.

"Some years it's less, some years it's more - this year it's more,” Dr Young said.

Both Townsville with 933 cases and the Sunshine Coast with 448 have had more laboratory confirmed cases year to date.

Dr Young said although there was an increase of cases recorded in the Wide Bay it was "not the steady increase that you see to indicate the beginning of the flu season”.

So the question remains when is the best time to have your flu vaccination? Dr Young said about four months before the peak would be the best time to have the injection.

By doing this you would be covered when the flu season was in full swing.

"If we say to you that the flu season is to peak at the end of August or September, and you want to make sure you're protected at that time.

"Then you probably are best putting off the vaccine until May.”

The vaccine will become fully effective about two weeks after vaccination.

"I'm putting my vaccine off until May,” Dr Young said.

So although there are more than average cases of the flu around for this time of year we still haven't reached the peak.