Cardinia Shire Council is encouraging the community to say ‘boo to the flu!’
The flu (influenza) isn’t like the common cold; it’s highly contagious and can cause severe illness and life-threatening complications. Symptoms of flu can hit very quickly and may last for several weeks.
All Victorians six months or older are encouraged to get an annual flu shot. However, some groups in the community are more vulnerable to the flu virus, and can also suffer more serious complications from the flu.
The flu vaccines are available for free in 2019 for these groups due to their increased risk of complications from the flu:
- all children aged six months to less than five years old
- Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander persons aged 6 months to less than 5 years or those over 15 years
- all Victorians aged over 6 months who have certain medical conditions which increase the risk of influenza complications; for example, severe asthma, lung or heart disease, low immunity or diabetes, should go to their GP to determine if they should have the Flu shot
- all adults aged over 65 years
- pregnant women (during any stage of pregnancy).
Council has a number of immunisation sessions from May through to September which offer the flu vaccine free to eligible people (while stocks last).
Common symptoms of the flu include sudden high temperature (38o C or more), a dry cough, sore throat and a runny or stuffy nose, body aches, and feeling extremely week or tired.
If you get the flu the best things you can do are rest, stay at home and drink plenty of fluids. If you do need to see a GP, make sure you call ahead first.
For some people, taking antiviral medication early on can help lessen the effects of flu. Speak to your GP about whether you might need to take antiviral medication, especially if you’re in an at-risk group.
You can help stop the flu spreading by coughing or sneezing into your elbow, washing your hands regularly and staying home or away from work if possible.