May marks the beginning of flu season here in Australia, so make sure you’re protected as winter draws close.
In this post, we’re going to explain why it’s important to get your flu jab and how you can make an appointment.
We’ll also take a look at what else you can do to avoid all types of infections.
What is flu?
Flu, also known as influenza, is a respiratory illness (a disease that affects the airways and lungs) caused by a virus.
In many cases, flu is a mild illness that can be treated at home. However, it can also lead to severe symptoms and even death.
Why do I need a flu jab?
You may remember that last year flu made its comeback.
All the steps we took to cut down on the risk of getting Covid-19, from wearing face masks to using hand sanitiser, meant that there were fewer cases of flu in 2021.
But with the lifting of restrictions in 2022, flu reappeared. Experts say that seasonal flu should be expected again this year.
To cut down your risk of getting infected with flu — and infecting others — you should get your flu vaccination.
Even if you had a flu jab last season, you should still go for your flu jab appointment this year. That’s because a different vaccine is developed every year as flu virus strains are constantly changing.
This year’s vaccine will protect against the strains that are most likely to affect us here in Australia.
You also need to ensure you get a new flu vaccine every year, as protection falls off after a few months. This means you need to get a fresh jab every year to keep you safe.
Who should get a flu jab?
Everyone aged 6 months and above should get a flu vaccine every year. If you’re at higher risk of getting complications from flu, you will be eligible for a free vaccine — so check to see if you or your family are in one of these categories:
- Children aged 6 months to under 5 years
- Pregnant women
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are aged 6 months and above
- People aged 65 years and above
- People aged 6 months and above with medical conditions that could increase their risk of severe flu and complications. These include cardiac disease, diabetes and chronic respiratory conditions.
How do I book a flu vaccination?
If you’re eligible for a free flu vaccine, you will be able to get it from your GP, community health clinic or participating pharmacy.
You can check on the National Health Services Finder to find out the nearest place to go for your flu jab.
If you’re not eligible for a free flu jab, you can pay for it at your GP surgery or local pharmacy.
It’s a good idea to get your jab as soon as possible so that you’re protected in the peak of flu season from June to September.
What else should I do to avoid infections?
Flu isn’t the only infection that can affect people during the winter months.
You should also continue to be aware of Covid-19 and get a booster vaccination if you’re eligible — ask your GP for more details.
If you think you have Covid-19, you can do a test at home and isolate until you are negative. Symptoms like a temperature, sore throat or cough can usually be treated at home. But be sure to get medical help if you are worried about your symptoms.
You can also follow these hygiene tips to reduce the risk of becoming ill or spreading infections to others:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds each time.
- If you can’t wash your hands, use sanitiser with a high alcohol content to kill germs.
- Wear a face mask if you’re going to a crowded place.
- Catch coughs and sneezes in a tissue or inside your elbow. Dispose of any tissues straight away and wash your hands.
Stay healthy this winter
While flu is often a mild illness, it can become serious and even life-threatening. That’s why it’s so important to protect yourself and your community by getting your flu jab.
During the winter months, it’s also a good idea to protect yourself against other infections. So check out our range of health and wellbeing products in our online collection. From thermometers to face masks and more, we’ve got everything you need to stay healthy this winter.