Being prepared for Flu Season
With Flu Season upon us, it's more important than ever to protect yourself against flu this year, especially since there some similarities between the Flu and COVID-19
The first symptoms of COVID-19 and influenza (flu) infections are often very similar. They both cause fever and similar respiratory symptoms, such as runny nose, cough, sore/itchy throat, or shortness of breath.
Both viruses are also transmitted in the same way, by coughing or sneezing, or by contact with hands, surfaces or objects contaminated with the virus. As a result, the same public health measures, such as hand hygiene (hand washing), good respiratory etiquette (coughing into your elbow or into a tissue and immediately disposing of the tissue) and good household cleaning are important actions to prevent both infections.
It is also important to get the flu vaccine this year because:
- flu is a serious respiratory illness even in healthy individuals and can be severe particularly in the elderly.
- flu vaccination reduces the risk of two potentially serious infections, flu and COVID-19, occurring at the same time. This is important because:
- Even in a normal year, seasonal flu places a large strain on limited health resources in Australia each winter
- Any reduction in the number of people getting flu this year will mean there are more resources to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and the expected increase in patients with severe COVID-19 disease
- Reducing the risk of getting flu and COVID-19 either together or one after the other has benefits for both the infected person and the health system
It’s ok to leave your house to get vaccinated unless you have been directed to self-isolate.
- Flu shots are free for:
- people aged 65 years and over
- pregnant women
- children under 5 years old
- Aboriginal people
- medically at risk groups.
The flu isn’t serious
Not true. Young children, the elderly and people with other health conditions like diabetes, COPD/emphysema and asthma can get very sick from the flu.
I had my vaccination last year, so I won’t get the flu.
The flu is a virus; viruses change and are different each year. The vaccination you had last year will not prevent you getting the flu this year. Due to COVID-19, many GP clinics and chemists have additional measures to keep you safe. If you are having your flu vaccination this year, be sure to call ahead and find out what to expect when you arrive.
I don’t know where to go for more information
You do now! From tasafterhours.com.au you can access healthdirect, allowing you to speak to a nurse and get advice on how to manage your symptoms or where to go for treatment. You can use the directory to find an after-hours GP or home visit doctor, a chemist open near you or a late-night pharmacy.
Flu fact: You can’t catch influenza from the flu shot.
Call your GP or the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738 to be tested if you have any of the following symptoms (even mild):
- a fever
- runny nose
- sore/itchy throat, or
- shortness of breath.
This article is general in nature and should not be taken as medical advice. If you suspect you have corona virus (COVID-19) call the Tasmanian Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738.