Have you been feeling under the weather lately? You’re definitely not alone!
A record number of patients have been diagnosed with flu this winter. So far, more than 14,000 cases of flu have been reported in Australia this year. That is significantly higher compared to the 9,258 cases at the same last year.
Almost 2,000 new cases were reported in the past week.
The increased number of flu cases is being attributed to the delay in this year’s vaccination program. Australia’s vaccination program was late by a month as vaccine manufacturers rushed to update two influenza strains in their vaccines after the northern hemisphere experienced a bad flu season.
If you haven’t had your flu shot this year, don’t delay! Influenza is highly contagious and easily spreads from person to person.
If you belong to those who are considered at risk of contracting influenza, you should take advantage of the free vaccine.
Frequently Asked Questions about the Flu and Its Vaccine
What is influenza?
Influenza is an upper respiratory tract disorder, which easily spreads from person to person through infected droplets. It is more severe than the common colds. Its symptoms include fever, sore throat and muscle aches and could last for as long as a week. If left untreated, the flu could lead to complications such as pneumonia and bronchitis.
How do you prevent flu?
Vaccination is considered as the most effective way to prevent influenza. This year, two of the strains in the flu vaccine have been updated.
Is the flu vaccine safe?
Yes, the flu vaccine is safe. Some experience minor side effects, such as pain, low-grade fever, muscle aches and drowsiness, but these usually go away within a few days.
Who are eligible for a free flu vaccine?
The vaccine is free for people who are considered at high risk for complications.
– Individuals aged over 65
– Inidviduals with a chronic condition
– Pregnant women
– Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people