We asked General Practitioner Dr Tracey Collins about what to expect this flu season, the vaccination, and what to do if someone becomes ill.
Every year we hear that it will be a ‘bad flu season’. Can we expect another ‘bad flu season’ this year?
It is always possible to have a bad season - unfortunately the influenza viruses have the ability to rapidly mutate or change, but vaccinations provide important protection.
Who should consider getting a flu vaccination, and why?
All Australians over the age of six months can consider being vaccinated against influenza. The vaccine creates protection for that individual; that person is also less able to spread influenza to more vulnerable groups of individuals.
What is the best time for someone to get a flu vaccination?
People should have the vaccination annually. The recommended time to get a flu vaccination is prior to peak flu season in June however, it also depends on when the vaccine becomes available.
What should someone do if they contract the flu?
They should contact their usual doctor for an appointment as soon as possible and use symptomatic treatment - paracetamol for pain relief and fevers - until assessed by the doctor.
If someone has been diagnosed with the flu they should minimise contact with others to avoid spreading it. The flu is generally spread by droplets, for example by coughing or spreading onto shared contact surfaces.
To minimise spreading the flu further, people should use tissues or cough into their elbow and wash their hands frequently.
For more advice and tips, check out our latest issue of Possible