With winter and the colder weather fast approaching so too is flu season, and after last year’s record flu season it is time to start thinking about prevention.
No one wants to get sick and there are a number of things you can do to protect yourself against influenza:
- Be vaccinated.
- Hand washing and personal hygiene, such as trying not to touch your mouth or nose.
- Where possible, avoid crowds during the flu season.
Even though the influenza vaccination has been proven to be the most effective protection against the flu, recent research by the Pharmacy Guild of Australia has revealed that one-in-two Australian adults do not plan to vaccinate against the flu this year despite last year’s record flu season which saw more than 249,000 reported infections.
The Guild National President, George Tambassis, says Australian adults are generally misinformed about the seriousness, and unaware of some of the infectious aspects of the flu.
“Most Australians don’t realise how infectious the flu is, with 77 per cent of respondents unaware the flu virus can remain active when airborne for 45 minutes or more.”
Know your symptoms
- Fever (often high)
- A severe cough
- Muscle aches and pains
- A sore throat
- Children’s symptoms may also include nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea.
Note: If you have a sore throat, runny nose and sneezing without high fever, cough, headache and muscular ache, you’re probably suffering a common cold.
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- Lithgow Valley Medical Practice
How to protect yourself
The flu vaccination is very important for protecting people at high risk of serious flu complications.
The best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu shot, through your workplace programme, at the GP, or through chemists which offer the service.
This will not only protect you but help protect your family, friends and colleagues (if you don't catch flu you can't spread it). And if you do get sick – don't share it! Stay at home and rest.
Time the jab right
The timing of an influenza vaccination is critical to ensuring patients have the highest level of protection from the influenza virus when the flu season commences.
The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) is advising Australian patients to receive their influenza vaccination at the right time with a specialist GP, to ensure they are protected.
RACGP President Dr Bastian Seidel said there is no need for patients to rush for a flu vaccination as soon as they are available.
“Typically, flu season affects Australia from June to September, with the peak being August,” Dr Seidel said.
“Recent evidence suggests that protection following flu vaccination may begin to wear off after three to four months, so timing of vaccination is critical.”
- For more information visit www.healthdirect.gov.au/flu-trends