THE number of residents being struck down with the flu in the MIA is no laughing matter this season.
So far in 2019 up until July 15, 49 Leeton shire residents have been confirmed diagnosed with influenza, while in Griffith that number is a whopping 405 people.
Last year Leeton had 29 reported cases, while Griffith had 35.
The numbers paint a disturbing picture.
For the wider Murrumbidgee Local Health District, there have been 2138 people diagnosed.
It is one of the most serious "flu seasons" on record, with 79 people in NSW alone dying from the disease this year.
Leeton pharmacist Tejaskumar Patel said it was important for residents to take their health seriously.
"It's bad, especially when you compare the numbers to last year," he said.
"Because people are moving in and out of our area ... business people etc coming to town and going back to Sydney or Melbourne, they might be sick and bringing it here. It's very contagious.
"If we try and have combat strategies, that would help. We can be doing a lot of things.
"It's important to be vaccinated.
"Your vaccine doesn't last very long. You need to vaccinated every year.
"We don't want to be scaring people, but we do need to warn people and help prevention more cases."
It is important to seek treatment for flu symptoms, which can start with a simple visit to a chemist and having a chat with a pharmacist who can then direct a resident to a doctor if needed.
There have also been reported cases of residents calling Triple Zero to assist them with their flu symptoms, but this is heavily discouraged.
Residents should first seek other alternatives before calling the emergency number.
Mr Patel said prevention was the key in stopping the spread of what is a deadly flu season.
"Prevention means you are actually helping stop the spread of flu, rather than treating it later when it is highlu contagious," he said.
For more information of influenza prevention visit www.health.nsw.gov.au.
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