2017 WAS the worst flu season ever recorded in Australia.
With over 47 000 notified cases in 2018, this was considered to be one of the mildest seasons, possibly because of increased immunisation uptake and general population immunity carried over from 2017.
Although the 2019 flu season has only just begun, there have been 25 deaths in Queensland already, according to Queensland Health figures reported by ABC News on 15th May.
Influenza changes constantly and is not predictable. Flu is a viral infection that infects the respiratory system (nose, throat and lungs).
Anyone, at any age is susceptible to flu, even the young and healthy. It spreads quickly and flu viruses constantly mutate so annual vaccinations are recommended.
Symptoms include fever, chills, sore throat, fatigue, muscle aches, headaches, runny nose, coughing, and sneezing. Children may experience vomiting or diarrhoea.
A flu carrier can be contagious 24 hours before symptoms appear and for about a week afterwards. Most people recover from flu within a couple of weeks, but flu can cause complications such as pneumonia or bronchitis and may even be life-threatening.
A flu vaccination is available for free in Tasmania, for children from 6 months to 5 years old and for those over 65 or medically at risk.
Anyone else visiting a GP or chemist for a vaccination will have to pay for it.
Deloraine Medical Centre has vaccinated well over 1000 patients already, this season.
Chemists are now able to provide customers with a flu vaccination, but not as part of the free service, although it is hoped that this will become available in the future.
At $19.95 for a flu vaccination, Amcal Deloraine and Soul Pattinson Westbury have a steady stream of customers, who do not have the time or inclination to make doctors’ appointments.
A chemists’ vaccination is done by trained staff. The vaccination can be added to a customer’s medical records, to keep them up to date.
Vaccination is the most effective protection against flu, so should be considered a reasonable precaution to take before the season is upon us.
You should speak to your GP or local chemist if you have any health concerns about flu or vaccinations.