13th Jul 2018
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Warning on danger month for flu as winter hits halfway mark
Author: Janelle Ward
Warning on danger month for flu as winter hits halfway mark

We’re almost halfway through winter, but if you haven’t had the cold or flu yet – don’t get too cocky – we still haven’t hit the danger month.

Data shows that August is that month.

Flutracking, an online data collection website run out of the University of Newcastle and backed by Federal Government health bodies, shows that in the past five years, the flu season hits its peak in August.

Last year, the incidence of fever, cough and work absences among the 33,000-plus participants jumped from 1.6 per cent in late July to 2.7 per cent in late August.

Flutracking is a voluntary online survey that asks participants about their cold and flu symptoms on a weekly basis.

On Wednesday, 32,641 responses were received from across Australia. Fever and coughs were reported by 1.8 per cent of vaccinated participants and 2.2 per cent of those who were unvaccinated. Fever, coughs and absence from normal duties were reported by 1.1 per cent of vaccinated participants and 1.4 per cent of those unvaccinated.

Of those who responded this week, 67.4 per cent had received the seasonal vaccine and of the 5573 participants who said they worked face-to-face with patients, 82.7 per cent had received the vaccine.

To participate in the weekly surveys or to access the reports, go to the Flutracker website.

Earlier this month, Nine News reported that more than 800,000 flus hots were headed for Australia to boost stocks.

Last year saw the highest levels of reported cases of flu in Australia since the 2009 swine flu pandemic. Visits to hospitals by patients with flu symptoms soared 50 per cent, with more than 221,000 flu infections reccannot catch the flu from the orded around the nation – the highest ever. Many of those who felt sick already had a flu shot.

This year for the first time, people aged over 65 have been offered two flu vaccines that are claimed to be especially effective for them. The are Fluzone High Dose by Sanofi-Aventis and Fluad by Seqirus.

Medical authorities emphasise that you cannot catch the flu from the vaccine and apart from some local soreness at the point of injection, it will not make you sick. Some people may experience a few temporary side-effects, such as nausea, headache, fever or muscle aches, but these usually settle after a few days.

Anyone aged over 65, as well as people with severe asthma, lung or heart disease, low immunity or diabetes can get their jabs for free. For others, it generally costs less than $25.

Are you a participant on the Flutracking website? Have you been vaccinated? Have you avoided and colds or flue so far this winter?

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    COMMENTS

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    SuziJ
    13th Jul 2018
    10:57am
    Winter is not half way over. It occurs on Monday. There's 30 days in June, and 31 in each of July & August, giving 92 days. Half of 92 is 46-30 for June, then the remaining days make the 16th of July. As of midnight on Monday, it's half way thru winter. I should know - I was born 4 1/2 hours before midnight on July 16 :)
    Jannie
    17th Jul 2018
    11:53am
    We need a mask for the healthy to wear so we dont catch others bugs. The ones that are sick do not give a shit about where they cough or spit, they are the ones that need to wear a mask. Please somebody market a mask for the healthy.


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