The dreaded flu is having a huge impact on Central Coasties and is proving the be the biggest year for casualties.
Our medical practice and GPs are urging local residents to take immediate action to protect themselves and their families
Commonly known as ‘the flu’, influenza is a highly contagious disease that can be serious, debilitating and affect the whole body. The flu is caused by a group of RNA viruses (Orthomyxoviridae) and is spread by infected people coughing or sneezing as well as from surfaces contaminated by respiratory secretions. So, it’s easy to catch and spread and hard to avoid.
The flu attacks the lungs, nose and throat. Young children, older adults, pregnant women and people with chronic disease or weak immune systems are at high risk.
Symptoms include fever, chills, muscle aches, cough, congestion, runny nose, headaches and fatigue.
Influenza virus changes frequently, where one different strain dominates each year.
Did you know?
Influenza is a potentially fatal disease estimated to cause more deaths than road accidents every year: between 1500 and 3500 influenza deaths annually.
Experts estimate that influenza in Australia causes more than 18,000 hospitalisations and 300,000 GP consultations per year.
Between 5% and 20% of the Australian population may be infected with influenza each year.
Children are much more likely to contract influenza in any given season: 20-50% compared with 10-30% in adults.
When should I get vaccinated?
Since it takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body that protect against influenza virus infection, it is best that people get vaccinated immediately so they are protected before influenza begins spreading in their community.
How do flu vaccines work?
Flu vaccines cause antibodies to develop in the body about two weeks after vaccination. These antibodies provide protection against infection with the viruses that are in the vaccine.
The seasonal flu vaccine protects against the influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming season. Traditional flu vaccines (called "trivalent" vaccines) are made to protect against three flu viruses; an influenza A (H1N1) virus, an influenza A (H3N2) virus, and an influenza B virus. There are also flu vaccines made to protect against four flu viruses (called "quadrivalent" vaccines). These vaccines protect against the same viruses as the trivalent vaccine and an additional B virus.
Who should be vaccinated?
Everyone over 6 months of age should be vaccinated every year!
Even healthy people can get very sick from the flu and spread it to others. GPs recommend an annual influenza vaccination for any person aged 6 months and over unless contraindicated.
Who is most at risk and are urged to get vaccinated?
Influenza is especially dangerous for:
If you fall under one of these categories, you may be eligible to receive a free vaccination.
Please speak to our medical team for further information on eligibility.
Find out more about the flu and vaccinations here http://www.flusmart.org.au
Quick tips to help you avoid the Flu this season:
Get Flu vaccinated every year
Avoid close contact with people who are sick
Stay home when you are sick
Cover your mouth and nose
Clean your hands properly and regularly
Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth
Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs
Toukley Family Practice welcomes new patients, book an appointment now!