Australia is currently experiencing one of the deadliest strains of the flu virus that the country has witnessed in decades. A nursing home in Tasmania confirmed that 6 residents had died from influenza following the news that a young father passed away on Father’s Day from the virus.
However, it was the recent and tragic loss of 8-year-old Rosie Brealey who passed away from the virus which bought the severity of the severity of this disease to everyone’s attention.
Health Minister Jill Hennessy told 3AW Radio “We are having a horrific flu season. This is an influenza strain that is able to impact the young, the elderly the well and unwell.” Mrs. Hennessy also confirmed that some regions in the Eastern states of Australia, including Queensland, have doubled and even in tripled in some areas compared to last year.
Some facts about influenza:
- Influenza is a disease that is the result of type A, B or C viruses that infect the lungs and upper airways.
- Symptoms of the flu will usually not appear until 1 to 3 days after being infected.
- Influenza is highly contagious and spread through infected people coughing and sneezing which causes temporary contamination wherever the droplets land (i.e. surrounding air and surfaces).
- Symptoms of the flu include fever, sore throat, muscle and joint pain, extreme fatigue, headache and nasal congestion.
- The most vulnerable include the elderly, children and those with a weakened immune system.
So far 97 people have died in Australia from influenza in 2017 which has superseded the previous worst year of recorded deaths in 2015 which was 57, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Some precautions to take to minimise contracting the virus include immunisation, washing hands and good respiratory hygiene.
If you are suffering from any flu-like symptoms, the Department of Health is urging all cases to be taken seriously and visit your health care professional and not to dismiss it as the common cold.