Horror flu season as death toll rises
The death toll for this year's flu season continues to rise, with New South Wales adding seven to the horror tally, according to the latest data.
The flu has killed more than 220 people so far this year, and NSW is one of the worst states hit.
There have been 57 flu-related deaths in the state, as Victoria trails not far behind with 48 people there killed by deadly strains of influenza before the end of June.
NSW Health reports while flu activity "remains high", it's still too early to tell if the season has peaked.
Seven deaths were reported in the week ending June 23, and that figure is said to be "underestimated" because of delays in the death registration process.
GPs are warning sick Australians to stay at home if they come down with symptoms.
New research reveals more than half of Aussies still show up to work despite being sick, with one in five having too much work to take a sick day.
The research from water purification company, Waterlogic, also reveals the "overwhelming" numbers of Australians adopting "hero mentality" and working through their sickness.
"Workplace heroes" are said to cost Aussie businesses $35 billion each year because they are more prone to injury, less productive, more likely to make errors and are potentially contagious.
Melbourne GP Dr Preeya Alexander said while people had their heart in the right place, they needed to consider the greater impact of going into work.
"I often encourage sick patients to take a day off to prevent further spread of a virus and allow some rest, but I'm often met with resistance due to fear of missing a day at work and how it will be perceived," she said.
"It is concerning that over half of workers will still show up to work despite being sick. It's not uncommon to see the 'hero mentality' where people 'soldier on' and still attend work despite being sick.
"It creates a vicious cycle that is propelled by the belief we can just continue working."
Cold and flu bacteria can easily be transferred from shared equipment such as handles, buttons, toilets and shared water dispensers, which can be breeding grounds for bad bacteria.
"Cold and flu viruses can survive on hard surfaces for up to eight hours and on a person's hands for approximately five minutes after they touch a contaminated surface," Dr Alexander said.
"Imagine the millions of germs left behind for the next person, it can quickly lead to many people in the same office becoming ill."
And it's not just office workers who need to stay home, as experts warn parents to be on the lookout for symptoms in children.
Last month NSW Health again urged parents to take advantage of the free influenza vaccine for under-fives after 115 children were admitted to Children's Hospital Westmead with flu so far this year.
NSW Health director of communicable disease, Dr Vicky Sheppeard, warned two children needed critical care and encouraged parents to vaccinate their kids as soon as possible.
"With flu cases still on the rise, we're encouraging everyone, particularly pregnant women and parents of young children, to get their flu shots immediately," Dr Sheppeard said.
Dr Sheppeard said there had been strong demand for jabs this season.
"If you are unwell with the flu, stay at home and minimise contact with other people if possible, especially those who are particularly vulnerable, such as young children and the elderly," she said.
"Avoid visiting aged care facilities and childcare centres until you have recovered."