Flu 'more punishing' than Covid-19, some patients say

Logan Church
Source: 1News

Flu sufferers say they are “staggered” by how severely they have been impacted by this winter's strains.

Matt Hoggard said he tested positive for Covid-19 six weeks ago, but two-and-a-half weeks later ended up in hospital with the flu.

“I was a bit staggered how fast it came on,” he told 1News.

“I was bedridden for four days while with Covid I was up and around - far tougher to deal with.”

While he was back at work, he said his body took a beating,

"I ended up finding out my kidney wasn't coping well with the flu while with Covid everything was fine," he said.

"[It was] Far more punishing."

Kat Gerasimenko had a similar story, she has been stuck at home for a week and she and her partner were trying to keep away from their flatmates.

"I slept most of [the first two days]," she told 1NEWS.

"If I was comparing Covid and the flu I would say Covid was less impactful.

"At the moment we've seen flu overtaken Covid hospitalisations in terms of respiratory illnesses.

"You can see it is a significant issue for us this season."

Earlier on Monday morning, she said this was a particular challenge for areas such as Counties Manukau.

Middlemore Hospital’s Dr Vanessa Thornton said the hospital was "experiencing extreme pressure" as the winter flu season has increased the demand for its services

"We have seen a fourfold increase in patients at Middlemore with influenza compared to 2017, 2018 and 2019," she said.

"To help meet the needs of our community we have implemented additional services over the last weekend that will also apply over the upcoming Matariki long weekend.

"For participating General Practices in our district, weekend consultations are free, and many pharmacies are providing free pain relief, paracetamol or ibuprofen, for children aged 13 years and under without a prescription through to the end of the Matariki long weekend.”

Epidemiologist Michael Baker said some public health measures already in place are a good defence against the flu.

"Two of the big ones of course is staying at home if you're sick, that is a big change for New Zealanders and that still the best single way of sharing these viruses around, and the second is using masks in indoor places like busses."