During border closures in 2020 and 2021, there was very little ‘flu within Australia.
In May 2022 there has been a sharp increase in flu diagnoses which has worried some health experts that 2022 may be a more serious flu season than 2019 when 1,080 people died from flu and 2017 when 1,255 people died according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
What is influenza?
Influenza or ‘flu is a highly contagious respiratory illness. Some people’s symptoms are so severe they need to be hospitalised. Some people become so unwell that they die from it.
It is more common to catch flu in the colder months (April to October in Australia). Flu season typically peaks in August, but in 2022 there have been higher than usual confirmed cases so far.
Symptoms of the flu:
How can you protect yourself from the flu?
Get a flu shot. It’s important to renew your ‘flu shot every year as it wears off after 3-4 months.
Wash your hands. Soap and water can kill the influenza virus because it has a lipid shell.
Cover coughs and sneezes. The flu virus can live for hours and days in a cough or a sneeze. Always cough and sneeze into your elbow.
Bin your tissues, immediately
Avoid sharing, separate food and use your own plates, cups and cutlery
Keep surfaces clean, particularly those that are shared between people like common kitchens, desks and keyboards
Self Care at home for most people is enough when you catch flu.
Antibiotics are not effective against flu which is caused by a virus. Antibiotics only work for bacterial infections.
Most people recover fully from influenza. It’s important to practice good hygiene for the sake of those who won’t.
5 Biophysical Journal, 2011, Feb 2; 100(3): 637-645
6 American Journal of Respiratory Care Medicine (2020) Sep 1; 202 (5) 651-659