Don't treat flu lightly

Dr Rachel Adendorff prepares to give a patient an influenza shot. She recommends residents take advantage of vaccinations to stay well this year.
Dr Rachel Adendorff prepares to give a patient an influenza shot. She recommends residents take advantage of vaccinations to stay well this year. Tony Martin

THE flu season may not officially start until next month but people are being warned to be prepared early.

Keeping healthy by exercising and eating fruit and vegetables can help prevent illnesses too.

One Stop Medical's Dr Rachel Adendorff said influenza could lead to other illnesses.

"Influenza is a systemic illness," Dr Adendorff said.

"You can get infections like pneumonia and some people can become very ill.

Dr Adendorff said influenza symptoms included a fever and a temperature over 38 degrees.

"Patients will have a chesty cough early on," she said.

"By the end of the week you should be better.

"But if you're not you should see a doctor."

Dr Adendorff said healthy people should try to stay at least a metre away from unwell people.

"When you blow your nose try to use tissues and wash your hands each time after that," she said.

"When you sneeze try not to use your hand, sneeze into your elbow.

"The reason for that is when people open doors they use their hands so the illness can spread faster.

She also said exercising when ill was a bad idea.

"If you've got influenza there's a small probability the virus can go to your heart muscle," Dr Adendorff said.


Free flu shots for people 'at risk'

PEOPLE are being urged to take advantage of the flu vaccination before the season officially starts in May.

Queensland Health has recorded 140 influenza cases since January. The department's chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young said the vaccination was available through GPs and other immunisation providers.

"Influenza is a highly contagious and potentially serious disease that can be spread through coughing and sneezing," Dr Young said.

"It's especially important for people in 'at risk' groups to be vaccinated, which is why Queensland Health provides free flu immunisation for the elderly, pregnant women, indigenous people aged over 15 and those at risk due to medical conditions such as heart and respiratory diseases. Annual vaccination against influenza reduces the chances of catching the flu."

Topics:  flu illness infection

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