Flu season is nothing to sneeze at
Has the evil winter witch cast her ugly lurgy spell upon you yet?
Touch wood right now if it hasn’t.
For the rest of us, you don’t need to tune into the nightly news bulletins to realise this year is one of the worst flu seasons in recent memory.
In fact, you or a loved one is probably clutching for the Kleenex now as you read this.
2017 has seen a record number of influenza cases diagnosed across Australia. Recent half-year statistics published in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania revealed that flu reported cases had increased to record breaking levels, with the number of flu related sicknesses up 70 per cent from last year.
And the bad news, according to health experts, is Aussies haven’t seen the worst of it yet with August usually the most impacted month.
In fact, the Director of communicable disease at NSW Health, Dr Vicky Sheppeard, told the Sydney Morning Herald this week that we can expect to see “a large increase in infections in the coming weeks” with peak influenza outbreaks set to hit within the next three to six weeks.
What’s more, not only has the numbers of flu cases increased exponentially so too has the rates of numbers of sufferers checking into emergency departments or being admitted to hospital or critical care.
So just what is the flu and what are its symptoms?
The flu is a highly contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. There are three main types which cause infection in humans – A, B and C – and usually appear in the colder winter months.
People with the flu will usually experience such conditions as fever, chills, cough, sore throat, runny nose, muscle aches and joint pain; with symptoms often lasting for more than a week. It is spread mostly via coughing, sneezing and touching surfaces where infected droplets have landed.
So how can you protect yourself from the wicked winter contagion? Is there a magic potion you ask?
Not really, however, according to the Department of Health the flu shot is your best defensive weapon against the pesky virus. This year’s flu vaccine covers all the main influenza strains currently circulating the country.
Other preventative measures include: covering your face when you cough or sneeze, disposing of used tissues, washing your hands thoroughly and often, stay at home until you’re well, and, of course, visiting your doctor.
Share your old school cold and flu remedies with us below!
For more information or advice consult your GP or visit the Department of Health website at www.health.gov.au