The best way to keep yourself and your loved ones protected throughout the April to October flu season is by keeping your vaccination up to date. It’s never too late to get your flu shot – no matter what time of year.
What is the flu?
Unlike the common cold, the Influenza (flu) virus is a highly contagious infection that causes severe illness and in some cases; life threatening complications such as pneumonia. It’s found in almost invisible droplets contained in saliva, coughs, sneezes and runny noses. It usually spreads when people touch an infected surface.
What are the symptoms of flu?
There are a number of common symptoms of the flu virus, such as:
- Dry cough
- Body aches
- Fever and high temperatures.
Your symptoms may appear very quickly and last between one to three weeks, depending on the severity of the infection and whether you have received a vaccination for the current strain.
How is the flu different from COVID-19?
Not everyone who displays the symptoms listed above will have the flu, however. It is important to take precautions and get tested for COVID-19 as soon as possible to eliminate this as being the cause of your illness.
For more information on identifying the symptoms click here.
- Living with COVID-19 – How to manage mild to moderate symptoms at home
- Why is self care important through this COVID-19 time, and how we can plan for it?
How can I treat flu?
If you have contracted the flu the best things to do are:
- Rest: Limiting your physical activity will allow your body to fight the infection. You should see a reduction in your high temperature after 3 days.
- Stay at home: Stay away from areas with a high concentration of people such as supermarkets as much as possible while you are contagious.
- Stay hydrated: You will be losing a lot of fluids by sweating out the high fever. Try and have at least 1 glass of water per hour.
If you are experiencing serious complications from a flu infection you should seek medical assistance as soon as possible. Please see your General Practitioner and if you are feeling very unwell you should call an ambulance on 000.
What are some key reasons to get the flu vaccine?
For those with a lowered immune system, or existing medical conditions the flu can have devastating and serious outcomes; and can even cause death. It is typically most serious for the elderly and young children.
Every year the flu will affect thousands of Australians, regardless of the ongoing COVID-19 situation. It puts incredible pressure on our hospital system and over 3500 avoidable deaths each year happen as a result of complications from seasonal flu.
Whilst you can still get sick even if you are vaccinated, it will reduce the length and severity of the illness, especially if you are in one of the at-risk groups highlighted above.
When should seniors get the flu shot?
The influenza virus is constantly changing and mutating as it passes from person to person, so the vaccine is updated from one year to the next to protect against the strains of influenza that are suggested by research to be common. Even if you had a shot last year, it’s important to get one this year and ensure you remain protected.
Are flu shots safe for seniors?
Vaccines are the most effective way to prevent treatable diseases and illnesses such as the flu. It doesn’t contain any live virus, so it can’t "give" you the flu. You will begin to be protected about two weeks after getting the injection. If you have any questions regarding the vaccine, please contact your General Practitioner, Pharmacist or Immunisation Provider.
Where can I get vaccinated?
The current vaccine will be available at your local General Practitioner or pharmacy in mid-April but please speak to your medical specialist to confirm when you will be able to receive your influenza vaccination this year. You can use this link to find your closest General Practitioner.
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