Turns out it’s not just your office where everyone appears to be on sick leave. The number of reported flu cases in Australia this year is more than double what it was in 2013.
Flu picture from Shutterstock
The Guardian reports that there have been 20,979 lab-confirmed cases of influenza so far in Australia this year. The actual number of cases is likely to be much higher, since many people will either not visit a doctor or not require a lab test to confirm their diagnosis. The “swine flu” strain that is prevalent this year appears to have a stronger effect on younger people, countering the oft-held notion that flu is a bigger worry for the elderly.
Flu isn’t just a nuisance — severe cases can be deadly. Flu is responsible for between 1500 and 3500 deaths in Australia each year. Even at the lower number, that makes it a higher number than the national road toll.
How can you avoid flu? Basic hygiene helps: avoid crowded places and wash your hands regularly (and thoroughly). Anti-flu vaccinations are also an option, though ideally you’ll have done that already if you’re in a risk group. Also: don’t believe the myth that the flu vaccine actually gives you the flu — it isn’t true.
Flu cases in Australia more than double last year’s number [The Guardian]