Colder days and chilly nights have set in and influenza (flu) season is here. The flu is much more serious than a cold and can be prevented by vaccination.
What are the symptoms?
Flu symptoms range from mild to severe and can include:
fever and chills
cough, sore throat and runny or stuffy nose
muscle aches, joint pains, headaches and fatigue
nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea (more common in children than adults).
Steps to stop the spread of flu
Here are some simple steps you can take to help keep you and your family healthier this winter and stop the spread of flu.
Get a flu shot
The best way to keep your family healthy is to get a flu shot. Free flu shots are available for pregnant women, children under 5 years old, Aboriginal people, children and adults with serious medical conditions, and people aged 65 years and over.
A flu shot is safe for everyone over 6 months and it does not give you the flu.
Sneeze into your elbow
Sneezing into your elbow instead of your hands can help stop the spread of flu. Did you know a sneeze can travel 1–2 metres and a single sneeze droplet may contain 200,000,000 individual virus particles?
Clean your hands
Regularly wash your hands with soap for at least 10 seconds or use a hand sanitiser – a flu virus can survive on unwashed hands for at least 30 minutes and up to two days on other surfaces.
Stay at home if sick
Flu can spread quickly when large numbers of people are in close contact, such as at school, work, sport or social events so keep sick children away from school and other activities.
If you are sick with flu, stay at home and avoid close contact with other people to prevent them from also becoming sick.
This is especially important for people who are more likely to get really sick if they get the flu – don’t visit pregnant women, infants, older people or people in hospital or residential aged care.
See a doctor if symptoms get worse
It’s important to seek immediate medical advice if the illness quickly becomes worse or if any of the following symptoms occur:
shortness of breath or rapid breathing
confusion or sudden dizziness
For more information ask your health worker or GP.