It’s that time of year again! The cooler months are here which means flu season is on its way.
The flu is generally spread by coming in contact with an infected person. As a healthy person can begin infecting others from as early as 1 day before symptoms develop, and up to 5-7 days after becoming sick, it can be difficult to control the spread of the virus.
To help protect yourself and your family from flu this season, see below 6 ways to fight flu:
Get a flu shot
It is important to get the influenza vaccination each year to continue to be protected, since it wears off after 3 to 4 months. Flu strains (types) also change over time.
Cover coughs and sneezes
Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.
Wash your hands
In addition to vaccination, good hygiene is one of the best ways to help prevent colds and flu from spreading. Wash your hands regularly. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
Bin your tissues
Throw disposable tissues in the bin immediately after using them.
Don’t share cups, plates, cutlery and towels with other people, if you can.
Keep surfaces clean
Clean surfaces such as your keyboard, telephone and door handles regularly to get rid of germs.
Self-care at home
In most cases you can treat mild cold or flu symptoms at home.
Vaccination is one of the best ways to protect yourself against the flu and other complications associated with the flu, including pneumonia.
NOTE: Antibiotics won’t help
Antibiotics do not reduce symptoms of colds and flu as these illnesses are caused by viruses. Antibiotics only work for bacterial infections.
When is the best time to get the flu vaccine?
Influenza season in Australia usually peaks in August or September each year. Optimal protection from influenza vaccination occurs in the first 3-4 months following vaccination.
Therefore, it is recommended to vaccinate when the national program starts, which is generally in late April, early May. However, as influenza continues to circulate, it is never too late to vaccinate.
If you are travelling to the northern hemisphere throughout their peak flu season, you should speak to your health professional about additional vaccination options.
Remember that it is always important to speak with your doctor about Influenza vaccination for you and your family.
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