Flu Season is just around the corner!

Thursday 27 April 10:54 AM

The weather has cooled down, and before long we’ll be in the flu season. To avoid infection, you need to be vigilant, and aware of some simple precautions you can take.

‘Flu’ (influenza) is a viral infection that is spread when tiny droplets containing infectious agents are propelled into the air by the speech, sneezes or coughs of an infected person. The infected droplets may be breathed in by people nearby. Infection may also be spread by contact with hands, tissues, and other articles soiled by infected nose and throat discharges.

Hands can be a major source of infection transmission. In any day, you could touch many surfaces that infected hands have touched – door handles, supermarket trolley handles, chair backs, desk and table tops, cash, pens, escalator and stair handrails. When you have been out and about, as soon as you return home wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. Hands can also be cleaned using an alcohol based hand rub.

At home, wash your hands regularly, especially before eating, before food preparation, after sneezing, coughing or disposing of tissues, and after toilet use. Encourage family members to do the same. To further prevent infection, avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Avoid sharing food, drinks, and personal items. Cover coughs and sneezes with your arm, or a tissue, rather than your hand, and wash hands after dropping used tissues in the bin.

For seasonal flu, the average time taken from becoming infected to developing symptoms (the incubation period) is about two days. The infectious period, when an infected person can infect others, lasts from one day before onset of symptoms until about seven days after the onset of symptoms. During this time, the infected person should isolate themselves as much as possible.

Flu vaccines can reduce the risk of developing severe influenza. However, vaccination is required each year, as the flu virus is constantly evolving, and vaccines are updated each year to cater for the changes.

Many workplaces offer to reimburse staff for the cost of vaccination, both to care for employees’ wellbeing, and to maintain productivity. Check with your employer to see if subsidised vaccination is available to you.

For handy reference, download the free Infection Control chart from the Allens Training website and avoid the flu this season.