44,000 Aussies have already been struck down by the flu this year. Among those, 89 have died, 26 in Victoria alone, three of which were children.
And the scariest part of these awful statistics? Flu season is only just beginning.
Health authorities warn that we’re in for one of the worst flu seasons yet with the number of deaths already surpassing that recorded in 2018.
Killer flu outbreak
There have been 44,000 confirmed cases of the flu across Australia so far, almost three times as many as this time last year. In fact, there were only 48,000 confirmed cases of the flu in 2018 in total. And we’ve still got several more months to go.
Dr. Angie Bone, Deputy Chief Health Officer of the Department of Health and Human Services, said, “It is certainly an unusual flu season. It started much earlier than we would have expected.”
The flu figures so far
- Over 44,000 struck with the flu so far: 11,053 were in South Australia, 10,984 in NSW, 9,902 in Queensland, 8,493 cases in Victoria, 2,564 in Western Australia, 722 in Tasmania, 610 in Northern Territory and 283 in the ACT.
- 63 deaths up until May 6. This compared to 57 deaths in the whole of 2018.
- Three children have died from the flu: The kids were aged three, six and 11-years-old.
- 26 deaths in Victoria (in addition to the number recorded on May 6): Including three children (above) and 23 aged-care residents in nursing homes.
- 27 deaths in South Australia: This is ten times as many cases hitting the state compared to this time last year.
What can we do to protect ourselves and our kids?
The recent figures have health authorities all suggesting the same thing – VACCINATE YOURSELF AND YOUR KIDS.
The flu vaccination is still widely available and free for children aged six months to five years. Pregnant women, Victorians over 65, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and those with a chronic condition are also eligible for a free flu shot.
It’s best to get the flu shot between April and June, so, if you haven’t done so already, now’s the time. For more information on the flu shot, have a look at Everything Parents Need to Know About the Flu Shot for Kids.
Although it can be a bit of a nuisance gathering the troops and getting them all jabbed, it’s so important that we do! The flu isn’t the same as a cold and can knock you out for weeks.
According to Dr. Jill Thistlethwaite, “The flu is a serious disease that for some people can lead to severe complications such as pneumonia, heart damage, brain damage, and even death,” she said. “Most people with flu will be unwell for at least a week and unable to go to work or school.”
- Fever or feeling feverish/chills
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle or body aches
- Fatigue (tiredness)
- Some people may have vomiting and diarrhoea, though this is more common in children than adults.
The flu can progress to something worse such as pneumonia, sinus and ear infections.
If you suspect you or your child has the flu, then don’t risk passing it on to others. The flu is highly contagious so stay home, stay hydrated and stay comfortable.
We’ve got several long, cold winter months ahead of us when the flu tends to strike the hardest. The flu shot is available and your best prevention against this deadly disease.