Influenza

The flu (influenza) is caused by a viral infection that is easily spread from person to person. The flu is a serious condition, and complications arising from the flu can be disturbing and potentially life threatening. Symptoms of the flu include fever, muscle and joint pains, chills, sore throat and headaches. These symptoms can last 1-2 weeks.

Your best protection against the flu is to get vaccinated. Getting a Flu Shot early in the year, before the height of the flu season can result in a considerably reduced risk of becoming infected and spreading the virus to others. Book your Flu Shot appointment at your local GP to be vaccinated before the flu gets you!

Children are much more likely to contract influenza in any given season. Influenza is extremely contagious as it can survive for an hour or more in the air in enclosed environments; for more than 8 hours on hard surfaces such as stainless steel and plastic, and up to 15 minutes if transferred from tissues to hands.

One of the hardest things about stopping the spread of the flu is that people can be contagious a day before experiencing any symptoms. Of course, this means we are out and about and unfortunately spreading the virus before anyone knows they are unwell.

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Are you at risk of influenza complications?

Some people are at higher risk than others of developing serious complications from the flu, including people with underlying medical conditions such as heart conditions or asthma, COPD and other lung conditions, diabetes (type 1 and type 2), kidney problems, HIV, malignant cancers, chronic neurological disorders, pregnant women, people over 65 years of age and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults aged over 15 years.

Residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, are also at increased risk of severe complications from influenza.

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Everybody should be protected by flu vaccination

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Everyone can benefit from the flu vaccine. Remember, even if you’re fit and healthy you can still pass the virus onto someone who is at risk of becoming very sick if they catch the flu.

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If you care for children, older parents or any other at-risk person then a flu shot is highly recommended.

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More information on Influenza can be found here www.flusmart.org.au