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

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!)

Share your comments below

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  • Unfortunately my husband caught the flu 4 days before he went on his 2 week fishing trip. Since he’d had the flu needle he only caught a mild dose and it was gone before he left. Now he understands why I pestered him to get the injection like the rest of the family does.


  • there are so many strains that i found that the best prevention attempts were useless at the end of the day! it seems that as soon as we get over one, another one strikes! i am over being sick, that’s for sure


  • If you visit your Dr. you spread it in the medical centre.
    The flu vaccine was available in Adelaide later this year. Often it is available in Mar. This year it was mid. April.


  • Flu jab every year in our house – seems to keep the flu away very well.


  • We never get the flu, due to our healthy lifestyle and diet. Also taking Olive leaf extract twice a day during the season seems to work for us. Don’t even get sniffles. Important to keep your immune system working in optimum condition, with extra rest during winter combined with still getting lots of fresh air and exercise. The flu vac does not protect you from all flu’s.


  • My son, who has asthma had the flu shot when it was first available, as did I following my experience with swine flu a few years ago. Fingers crossed, we’ve managed to avoid most of the winter illnesses in our home.


  • Might be time to offer the flu shot for free to everyone!


  • We’ve had so much sickness this year and then on top of that the flue, it was like a hammer beating us down. Nice tips, but as a mum I found that often we just have to go on. With a temperature of 39.4C I still had hospital appointments with my youngest and keep going to take care of 6 kids. No way I could rest, hence it took me nearly 2 weeks to get over it :(


  • it does seem to be getting worse each year – It’s horrible to have it or to watch someone you love have it – thanks for the timely reminder and the tips


  • Have managed to avoid it like the plague thus far :)


  • Luckily no flu yet here. And I hope we will survive winter. Getting plenty of vitamin helps!!


  • Son got a really bad case and then when he just started on the mend he came down with another case.
    Tip: if your doctor prescribes Tamiflu think twice and read and research up on it before going ahead with it …it is very very expensive and made my son worse.
    Tamiflu (oseltamivir) is an antiviral medication that blocks the actions of influenza virus types A and B in your body. Tamiflu is used to treat influenza in people 2 weeks of age and older who have had flu symptoms for 2 days or less


  • My whole family gets the jab every year.


  • I had the flu early in April and it was horrible and l do not want to get again this year.


  • That sure is a lot of people to been suffering with flu.

    • Should read be and not been. Hope everyone that gets it – rests until they have recovered from the flu.


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