How to stay away from the influenza virus

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KNOW THE FLU… With the winter cold well and truly set in, it’s important for people to know what the influenza virus is, how to treat it and how to prevent it. Photo: Supplied.
KNOW THE FLU… With the winter cold well and truly set in, it’s important for people to know what the influenza virus is, how to treat it and how to prevent it. Photo: Supplied.

By Lucie Leonardi

THE Influenza virus, or flu, is a viral infection and is highly contagious. It spreads easily from person to person during the winter months.

Almost 50,000 people were contaminated by the influenza virus during 2017 in Victoria. Young children and old people in particular, need to be protected, as the flu in these groups of people can cause serious illness which can lead to death. Is estimated that the influenza virus causes 3,000 deaths in Australia each year.

When someone is infected, the symptoms usually appear between one and three days later. Fever, sore throat, headache, muscle and joint pain and tiredness are the first and most commons symptoms of the influenza virus.

For getting over the flu, doctors advise to stay warm in bed, have a rest, drink a lot of water and take the prescribed antiviral medication.

But how do you reduce the risk of infection? Vaccination is the best way to avoid the winter flu. Vaccination builds immunity against the virus and prevents transmission to other people. It’s the easiest way to protect the community against an epidemic. Vaccination is required every year, because the virus can be different every year. For staying safe, it’s also advised to wash your hands regularly with soap and water, and do not share linen, eating utensils or dishes.