What you need to know about severe flu outbreak on Coast
DOCTORS are warning Fraser Coast residents to take precautions as a serious flu outbreak spreads across the region.
Public health physician at the Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service Dr Margaret Young said as of the weekend, there had been 561 local lab-confirmed cases of influenza.
"Since the middle of July there has been an increase in notifications from the region's health facilities of people with strains of influenza," Dr Young said.
"It is fair to say the flu season is under way."
Across the state, Queensland Ambulance Service was bombarded with more than 2500 triple-0 calls last week for flu symptoms, a record for paramedics.
The epidemic has put additional pressure on after-hours doctors and GPs in Maryborough and Hervey Bay.
House Call Doctor's Tony Tanious said of the 100 patients he had seen in the past week, 80% were suffering from cold and flu symptoms.
"The immune system has to work a bit harder during the cold, so it opens you up to getting sick," Dr Tanious said.
"Whenever it's cold outside, your body spends more time staying warm and less fighting infection."
Dial A Home Doctor Aleem Khan pictured) has also noted a significant spike.
He said about 50% of the call-outs he responded to over the last three weeks were for flu symptoms.
"It's a more severe flu; there's an increased severity in the symptoms with higher fevers and more muscle aches," Dr Khan said.
"Usually over the first three days we see headaches, mild fever and a persistent cough... the first three days usually have the most severe symptoms."
Dr Khan said the Fraser Coast was experiencing a "stronger" strain of flu than previous seasons.
Out of the patients he'd seen the most commonly affected were schoolchildren aged 2-8 and elderly residents over 60.
Dr Khan said it was better for people to get a day's rest to recover rather than risking the spread of the disease to colleagues.