Beware the 2018 Flu Season0
2017 was one of the worst flu seasons on record in Queensland, with more than 56,000 people contracting the flu.
Influenza is caused by influenza viruses, which are highly contagious via respiratory droplet transmission. Influenza type A and B cause the majority of disease in humans. Genetic changes to proteins on the viruses result in different strains each season, which is why influenza immunisation is recommended every year.
This year there are two new funded vaccines, one specifically for people aged sixty-five years and older, as their immune systems respond less effectively to vaccines.
Australian studies have estimated vaccine effectiveness is between 38% and 86%. The variation depends on age, whether a person is immunocompromised and how good the match is between influenza strains in the vaccine and those circulating in the community. Protection was thought to persist up to one year, but recent evidence suggests protection may wane from three to four months after vaccination. May/June are the ideal months to have the vaccination, as the flu season extends to the end of August.
TIPS TO REMEMBER:
• The more people who are vaccinated, the less likely the flu will spread in the community
• If you get symptoms of influenza you will need to have a diagnosis confirmed via laboratory tests
• Don’t forget your cough etiquette
• Wash your hands regularly
• Staying at home can prevent transmission