Beaudesert doctor says flu season might be milder thanks to COVID-19 rules

BONUS: Dr Alex Oram says fewer colds and flu this winter could be a positive side effect of healthy distancing and hand hygiene.
BONUS: Dr Alex Oram says fewer colds and flu this winter could be a positive side effect of healthy distancing and hand hygiene.

DOCTORS at Beaudesert Medical Centre say the benefits of healthy distancing and more frequent hand washing could have even more benefits than simply slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Former Rural Doctors Association of Queensland president Dr Michael Rice said fewer travellers arriving from interstate and overseas may also have contributed to the positive effect.

"We have seen fewer people with respiratory symptoms than we normally do at this time of year," he said.

"The proof of that pudding may be in the eating as winter rolls on but healthy distancing and hand hygiene could mean a quieter flu season."

Dr Rice's colleague Alex Oram said the medical centre had been busy administering flu vaccines, particularly to people over 65.

"People have been really good over the past few weeks," he said.

"We are getting anywhere between 20 and 50 people a day coming on for their flu vaccine, including pregnant women and people with heart disease, diabetes and lung disease who are eligible for the quadrivalent vaccine."

Dr Oram said the vaccine this year contained two Australian strains.

He said the surgery was also conducting testing for COVID-19 on people who meet certain criteria.

"Testing is available for people with respiratory symptoms and fever who have a higher risk of transmitting the virus," Dr Oram said.

"These include health care providers, residential care workers and teachers."

Dr Oram said having cold symptoms did not necessarily mean a person should be tested for COVID-19.

"We are asking people who think they may have coronavirus or may have come in contact with someone who has, to give the practice a call before coming in," he said.

"We can see by the statistics that people are doing a really good job at flattening the curve.

"Here it seems to be that people are only coming in when they know something is wrong with them that needs medical attention. Having that option to be able to pick up the phone and speak to a medical professional has really helped."

Dr Oram said Beaudesert was well equipped to provide COVID-19 testing to those who really needed it, with pathology results available between 24 hours and three days later.

This story COVID-19 prevention measures could provide health bonus this winter first appeared on Beaudesert Times.