How to protect yourself during the flu season

April 17, 2018

 

It is very common to see colleagues, friends, family and even ourselves being affected by the flu and being sick for over a week. Last year, the influenza outbreak was recorded with very high activity infecting more than 233,453 Australians, with 745 deaths especially among older people, young children and people at high risk of flu complications.

 

What is the flu and when is the flu season?

The flu, also known as influenza, is a highly contagious and acute viral infection and is caused by influenza A or B viruses. This respiratory infection appears during winter and early springs and it targets the upper and/or lower respiratory system.

 

How does influenza spread?

The flu is spread from person to person normally affecting in locations where large groups of people are in close contact. This viral infection can be spread through: the inhalation of droplets that is airborne, the direct contact with respiratory secretions by sharing drinks or utensils with infected persons or through the process of handling of contaminated objects, where the virus on skin can enter the body through contact with eyes, nose or mouth.

 

Symptoms

Symptoms start to develop from one to four days after the initial infection and can vary from mild to severe, even leading hospitalisation or death, if untreated. The most common symptoms of influenza can be:

  • High fever/temperature (38ºC or more);
  • Dry coughing;
  • Body aches affecting head, lower back and legs;
  • Weakness and tiredness;
  • Chills;
  • Loss of appetite; and
  • Runny or stuffy nose.

 

Management and treatment

The flu can be managed by:

  • Getting vaccinated before the flu season;
  • Washing hands regularly and frequently;
  • Covering coughs and sneezes;
  • Disposing tissues into the bin;
  • Avoiding sharing cutlery or food with other people; and
  • Keeping surfaces clean.

The flu can be treated by:

  • Taking rest;
  • Drinking lots of fluids (especially water); and
  • Intaking prescribed medicines.

 

However, make sure to consult a doctor or call Queensland Government’s health line 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84) if you experience concerning symptoms and/or have non-improving cough and fever. In case of emergency, always dial 000.

For more information and guidance, you can book an appointment with our GPs, Dr. Julie O’Connor and Dr. Kathy O’Sullivan.