Cold mornings and the late flu hitting

IF YOU thought it was cold yesterday morning you were right; at just 3 degrees in Gympie, it was more than 4 degrees below the August average, and the Bureau of Meterology was tipping another frosty morning today.

Saturday night was even colder, with the mercury dropping to 2.2 degrees to give the region its second coldest morning of the year (the coldest was 2 degrees on June 25).

The chilly nights have been brought on by a broad, high-pressure system over the region causing clear skies and light winds, allowing the daytime heat to radiate away from the surface. This high is expected to stick around until tomorrow.

Nights should become a bit warmer after that, as a low pressure trough approaches, although there are indications that the frosty nights will make a return around next weekend as another high moves in.

Despite all this, south-east Queensland has enjoyed a warmer than average winter so far.

This does not appear to have staved off the annual winter "bugs", though, with many workplaces now groaning under the strain of sick and absent employees as a "late" flu season takes hold.

Up to July this year, there had been 109 laboratory confirmed influenza cases for the Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service, Sunshine Coast Public Health Unit director Dr Andrew Langley said yesterday.

That represents about one third of the number recorded during the same periods in 2012 and 2011.

In the past two years there has been a noted increase in flu cases in late June and a peak in late August, Dr Langley said.

"A late increase in the number of flu cases is expected for 2013.

"There are other respiratory viral illnesses circulating to account for the amount of respiratory sickness in the community.

"People often don't have tests for these other viruses and, as they are not notifiable diseases, limited data is available.

"Prevention includes vaccination (for influenza); frequent hand washing including after blowing your nose; cough etiquette (ie covering your cough) and staying home from work or school if sick."

There has also been a noted increase in gastroenteritis caused by Norovirus. Norovirus is the commonest cause of gastro in adults. It is very easily spread.

Gympie Times

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