With more than 1,050 reported cases in the past two weeks alone, this year the flu is back with a vengeance and it’s young people copping the brunt of it.
Latest Department of Health (DoH) figures show 7,881 cases of influenza have been reported in Australia to date – and we’re only halfway through winter.
The bulk of cases, according the DoH, are attributed to the H1N1 influenza strain, commonly called swine flu.
The figures show a total of 4,000 cases identified in people aged five years or younger and in Australians aged between 25 and 49.
According to the Chair of the Australian Medical Association’s (AMA) Council of General Practice, Dr Brian Morton, “Young people have little immunity to protect them.”
He says viruses can change every year and that is why it is important to ensure you are vaccinated against the flu annually.
“We have to be careful when we say whether we had the true flu or not,” Dr Morton said.
People aged 65 and over are offered free influenza vaccination under the government’s National Immunisation Program (NIP), as they are classed as a high-risk group.
Flu symptoms may include a fever, cough, headache and tiredness.
According to Dr Morton good hygiene is an important way of stopping the flu virus in its tracks and being vaccinated also helps to protect against contracting the flu.