Australia is suffering its worst-ever flu outbreak.
It’s not too late to get the flu jab, according to medical expert Penny Adams.
More than 70,000 people have been struck down this flu season, it’s the best measure to ensure you and your family don’t end up being struck down by the sniffles, Ms Adams told TODAY co-host Lisa Wilkinson.
Experts believe unvaccinated children are to blame, and are encouraging all parents to ensure their kids get the jab.
“The best thing is to vaccinate, vaccinate, vaccinate,” she said.
Ms Adams said that vaccinations are particularly essential for children, who typically serve as “super-spreaders”.
She added that while it typically takes 10 days for vaccination immunity to kick in, flu season is set to continue right up until the end of September, and many Australians could save themselves grief by taking the precaution.
Ms Adams admitted however that the recent spike in diagnoses may be due to improved tests and greater vigilance on the part of doctors.
“I think one of the factors that’s causing these increased reporting of numbers is the fact that we doctors have these good, clever tests that we can do, and we’re testing for it a lot more and actually confirming cases, and that skews the numbers up as well,” she said.
Ms Adams said that the number of flu diagnoses typically peaks around August and September.
Victoria’s Chief Medical Officer, Professor Charles Guest, has even launched a new sanitation education campaign in schools.
Professor Guest told 9News, “The best defence we have is hand hygiene.”
Students at Laverton P-12 College in Melbourne’s west have been among the first to have their hand washing skills put to the test.
“Previously we found that children weren’t washing their hands very well,” Assistant Principal Jan Scott said.
Professor Guest said adults and kids need to spend at least 20 seconds at the basin for a standard hand wash.
He added that we should all be liberal with soap to have any hope of killing of 2017’s tough winter bugs.
“We found if you can teach small children they can sometimes teach their parents.”
Tips to beat the flu
Pain relief for aches and pains (vicks, eucalyptus to help with cold symptoms)
Stay home if you are unwell so you don’t spread infection
Visit your GP
Drink lots of fluids
Good hygiene includes:
– washing your hands regularly and properly with soap and water, particularly after touching your nose or mouth, and before handling food
– sneezing and coughing into tissues then throwing them away immediately and washing your hands
– cleaning surfaces such as your keyboard, telephone and door handles regularly to get rid of germs
– not sharing cups, plates and cutlery
– where you can, avoid sharing towels with other people and throw disposable tissues and paper towels in the bin immediately after using them.
Has your family been knocked down with the flu? (mine has worst luck!)
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