It’s Cold and Flu Season. Reduce your risk of getting Sick.

Young lady dressed warmly blowing her nose eyes closed as she is suffering from a cold

IT’S COLD AND FLU SEASON. REDUCE YOR RISK OF GETTING SICK.

Winter is cold and flu season. Whilst you can catch a cold or flu at any time of year it is most common to catch it in winter as people are most likely to stay indoors and be in close contact with each other with a lack of adequate ventilation. Lower temperatures and a lack of sunlight mean that the body is not as effective at fighting illness and cold dry air is perfect for the spread and survival of a virus.
COVID is still prevalent within the community and shares many of the same preventative measures. Following these also reduces the risk of catching and spreading it.
You can minimize the risk and impact of a cold and flu by following some preventative measures.
  • Get Vaccinated. The most effective way of protecting yourself from the flu is by getting an annual flu vaccine. Vaccination can significantly reduce the chances of contracting the flu and its severity if you do get infected. Contact your Doctor to organise the appropriate flu vaccine for you.
  • Practice Good Hand Hygiene: Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially before eating, after using the restroom, and after being in public places. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid Touching Your Face: Viruses can enter your body through your eyes, nose, and mouth. Minimize touching your face, especially with unwashed hands, to reduce the risk of viral transmission.
  • Practice Respiratory Etiquette: Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your elbow when coughing or sneezing to prevent the spread of respiratory droplets. Dispose of used tissues immediately and wash your hands afterward.
  • Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle: Take steps to strengthen your immune system by eating a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Engage in regular physical activity, get enough sleep, manage stress, and stay hydrated.
  • Avoid Close Contact with Sick Individuals: Try to avoid close contact with people who are sick with flu-like symptoms. If you’re the one who’s sick, stay home from work, school, or other public places to prevent spreading the virus to others.
  • Keep Your Environment Clean: Clean and disinfect frequently-touched surfaces and objects, such as doorknobs, light switches, keyboards, and phones, to minimize the survival of viruses on these surfaces.
  • Consider Using Face Masks: In situations where the flu is prevalent or if you’re in close proximity to individuals who are sick, wearing a mask, especially a properly fitted N95 respirator, can provide an additional layer of protection. However, it’s important to follow guidelines and recommendations from health authorities regarding mask usage.

Cold and Flu Image

Young lady dressed warmly suffering from a cold

Flu vaccinations are available for free for;

  • children aged 6 months to 5 years
  • people aged 65 years old and over
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 6 months and over
  • Pregnant Women at any stage of pregnancy
  • People aged 6 months and older with medical conditions putting them at increased risk of sever flu and it’s complications.

Children need special protection from the flu, especially babies and toddlers. The flu vaccine is just as important as other routine childhood vaccines and will protect them against the most common strains of the flu. Speak with your doctor to find out more information about flu vaccinations.

Time between vaccinations

You can get your flu vaccination at the same time you get your COVID-19 vaccination.

If you have had COVID but are no longer sick, you can get your flu vaccination right away.

You should wait 6 months after your last dose or having COVID-19, to get your next COVID-19 vaccination.

If you are sick with a fever, wait until you feel better to have the flu or COVID vaccination.

Managing symptoms at home

If you are unwell, stay at home – don’t go to work or school.

Most people can safely recover at home from the flu and COVID.

Find more information about:

Where to get help

There are lots of different places you can get help if you are sick. These are listed below. If you need an interpreter, call TIS National on Tel. 131 450.

Choose the right care and save calling 000 and visiting hospital emergency departments for emergencies.

Check out the Better Health Victoria government website for more information.

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