How to protect you and your family this flu season

Nearly 80,000 cases of influenza have been reported so far this year in Australia – and flu season has only just begun!

What is influenza?

Influenza, commonly known as the flu, is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses, of which there are multiple strains. It affects the nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs, leading to symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, and fatigue.

Influenza spreads through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks​.

The flu can range from mild to severe and can lead to complications, especially in young children, elderly people, pregnant women, and those with certain health conditions. Common complications include:

  • Pneumonia: An infection that inflames the air sacs in one or both lungs.
  • Bronchitis: Inflammation of the bronchial tubes.
  • Sinus and ear infections: Secondary infections in the sinuses and ears.
  • Asthma exacerbations: Increased asthma attacks.
  • Heart problems: Inflammation of the heart (myocarditis) or heart attacks.

Severe complications can lead to hospitalisation and even death, especially in high-risk groups.

What (and when) is influenza season?

Flu season refers to the period during which influenza viruses are most prevalent, leading to increased cases of the flu. In Australia, flu season typically occurs during the cooler months, from May to October, peaking in the winter months of June to August. During this time, healthcare systems monitor flu activity closely.

5 ways to protect yourself and your family from the flu

  1. Get vaccinated: Ensure everyone in the family gets the annual flu shot.
  2. Practice good hygiene: Wash hands frequently with soap and water and use hand sanitiser.
  3. Avoid close contact: Stay away from people who are sick and keep your distance if you are ill.
  4. Cover coughs and sneezes: Use a tissue or your elbow to prevent the spread of germs.
  5. Stay home if sick: If you or your family are feeling unwell, stay home to prevent spreading the flu to others.

These measures can significantly reduce the risk of contracting and spreading the flu to vulnerable people.

When should I get a flu shot?

Flu vaccinations prevent widespread outbreaks and protect vulnerable populations from influenza. It is recommended for all Australians to get a flu shot before the peak flu season in June. However, getting vaccinated later can still offer vital protection, so it’s beneficial to get the flu shot at any point during the flu season if you haven’t already.

In Australia, it is recommended that everyone aged 6 months and older receive a flu shot, especially:

  • Young children (6 months to 5 years)
  • Pregnant women
  • People 65+ years
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  • People with chronic medical conditions (e.g. heart disease, asthma, diabetes)
  • Healthcare workers and caregivers

Flu shots save lives.

To book your flu shot for yourself or your family, please call us on 6680 7788.