Avoiding the flu this winter

One month into winter and the flu season is turning out to be a busy one for health professionals.

So far this year, over 19,000 confirmed cases of influenza have been notified to the department in Australia.

The flu isn’t like the common cold, it’s highly contagious and can cause severe illness and life-threatening complications. Those who’ve had it say you never forget the flu, it can hit quickly and last for weeks.

Most adults are contagious around 3–5 days from when the first symptoms appear, and up to seven days in younger children. The best way to avoid spreading the flu is to stay at home while you are unwell. Avoid going to work or school or visiting busy public places and vulnerable individuals, such as the elderly.

To avoid the flu this year, people in Gippsland can still get their flu shot through their local GP, pharmacy or community immunisation centre – it’s not too late.

If you do get the flu, the best thing you can do to look after yourself is to rest, stay at home and drink plenty of fluids. If you do need to see a GP for your symptoms, make sure you call ahead first so they can make sure there’s no one in an at-risk group around when you have your appointment.

There are three key messages to remember to prevent spreading of infectious germs –

Cough and sneeze into your elbow

Wash your hands regularly

And if you’re sick… stay home!

For more information on how to avoid the flu or avoid spreading it visit https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/flu