Why is Everyone Under the Weather? Preparing for the Winter Wave.

As winter approaches, Kiwis are experiencing a notable uptick in respiratory illnesses. From colds and the flu to lingering COVID-19 cases, the season is proving to be a challenging one for our health systems and communities. In an article from RNZ the evidence is clear:

The Surge in Respiratory Illnesses

In the article, General Practice New Zealand Chair, Dr. Bryan Betty, highlights that we’re already witnessing increased cases, with children and adults alike feeling the impact. Schools are grappling with high absenteeism, struggling to find relief teachers due to widespread sickness. “We’re just starting the winter illness season now,” he noted, anticipating a further rise in June and July.

In addition to common colds and flu, cases of RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus) and adenovirus are also being reported. Dr. Betty advises that while accessing your GP might be tough, the national telehealth service remains a valuable resource.

Covid-19’s Persistent Presence

Covid-19 hasn’t taken a backseat either. According to epidemiologist Professor Michael Baker from Otago University, Covid-19 cases have been around all summer and are expected to spike as the colder months set in. Wastewater testing and hospital data indicate a sharp increase in cases, although it’s too early to determine if this trend will persist.

The Importance of Vaccination

With flu season kicking off earlier than usual, doctors are urging everyone, particularly vulnerable groups, to get vaccinated. A media release from NZ doctor warns with Microbiologist Dr. Juliet Elvy emphasing, “More often than not, people don’t think about flu until they’re already sick. By then, it’s too late for the vaccine to help.”

Vaccination remains the most effective defence against influenza. Dr. Elvy advises that the flu vaccine not only reduces the risk of severe illness but also protects against complications like bacterial superinfections, which can follow influenza.

Current Trends and Data

Recent data from FluTracking, an online respiratory illness surveillance system, shows low levels of activity as of mid-May 2024. However, fever and cough symptoms are on the rise, particularly among children under five. The FluTracking report indicates that while only a small percentage of participants tested positive for influenza, a significant portion tested positive for COVID-19.

Source : https://www.flutracking.net/Info/Report/202420/NZ

Preparing for the Winter

As we navigate through this challenging season, it’s crucial to stay informed and take proactive steps. Getting yourself and your workplace vaccinated, recognising symptoms early, and practising good hygiene can help mitigate the spread of these illnesses. Remember, staying home when sick protects not only yourself but also those around you.

Working Wise offers in-person flu vaccination clinics in Wellington along with flu vouchers which are redeemable nationwide. This flu season has been a great success and we are on track to vaccinate over 1,000 across the motu.

We are closing our in-person vaccinations in June with the last day for bookings being 24 June. Get in touch with Julia today to book your team in for vaccinations!

Stay healthy, stay safe, and let’s get through this winter together.

Up next

We have worked with
How can we help?

Send Us An Email

Contact Us

Make a booking with us