So just in case you’ve been living under a sneeze-proof, germ-deflecting rock, the flu season has been pretty gnarly this winter. I’ve literally found my bleary-eyed, drippy-nosed self heaped in a doona feeling sorry for myself asking the universe “BUT WHHHYYY?”
You know what I’m talking about. That week you spent in bed downing chicken soup as if it were actual medicine (spoiler alert: it’s a myth! It’s just the heat and hydration that helps).
But in all seriousness, this influenza outbreak has been a shocker. More than 75,000 laboratory-confirmed cases of the four active strains of virus have been reported this year across Australia, with around 50,000 of them from July and August, according to the Department of Health’s National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System. And that’s only the numbers from the people who’ve visited the doctor. The real number would be much higher. Yikes.
So just how bad is this year tracking? Doctors are already predicting it will surpass the 2015 record of 100,000 cases, making it the worst spread in 15 years. Everything from cold and dry weather to high rates of infection among children have been contributing factors.
How is this comforting if you, your loved one or little one have been holed up indoors for days in a foeta position? Well, you're not suffering alone. You can still get a flu shot. And you can definitely take extra care of yourself at home too.
To avoid taking further days off work and school, there are things you can do to relieve the symptoms and get your immune system back up to speed. Dr Jaspreet Singh, Senior Scientist at Vicks, recommends the following ways to survive the flu season: