The Flu In Australia Really Is Worse This Year

The Flu In Australia Really Is Worse This Year

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]


  • The reason I got it was because some idiot on the bus didn’t cover his mouth when he sneezed on my head. I felt his sneeze on my face and then thought “yep, now I’m sick”.

  • Many people are suffering a heavy cold but claim they have the flu. While there is a marked difference between the two illnesses, and a heavy cold generally does not physically prevent you from performing your job, it is often sufficient (quite rightly IMO) to take a day off – if only to relieve your colleagues of your constant coughing and sneezing.

    • There’s different sorts of flu. I had a bad case that certainly taught me the difference between the flu and flu-like symptoms and then I0 years later I got something that was diagnosed as flu but just seemed to give me an annoying cough, a cough that somehow triggered a vasovagal syncope and a stay in hospital (in an isolation ward until they eliminated whooping cough). Even today, five years later if I start coughing, my dog makes a beeline for the doggy door and waits out my coughing. (A syncope is a fainting spell. I must have crashed down on or near the dog.)

  • Hopefully I’m not jinxing myself but I never get the flu. I get lots of stupid colds all the time but not the flu. I also never get the vaccine. I also don’t have children. The last being probably the main reason I don’t get the flu.

  • A flu vaccination is STILL a great option, even at this stage. Flu numbers are still rising so people are still getting infected, risk group or not. Get one now.

  • Just overheard at waiting rooms this arvo. Receptionist were saying the swine flue strain is very prevalent this year. So it must be true then.

  • I haven’t had the flu since I can remember (at least 15-20 years). I do the following:
    Eat well
    Avoid public transport in winter at all costs (not always possible, but I have made the choice to drive where I need and pay the parking),
    Avoid air conditioned, non-ventiliated spaces.
    Lots of garlic and chilli (especially the occasional laksa).
    I also don’t get the vaccination: I am 6 months pregnant right now, and no vaccination- the evidence is just not there for effectiveness, and with the rapid rate that flu mutates, it’s not likely to have any net positive effect.

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