Don’t risk flu this season
Service Newpapers 10 June 2010
It’s coughs and sneezes time – Kel Watt and MAJ Vera Oliver from Joint Health Command say they want all ADF personnel to have a flu shot and apply other preventative measures.
Influenza is a highly contagious respiratory disease that has a big impact on Defence capability.
Not taking your healthcare responsibilities seriously also impacts on family, friends and important events.
While there are some very simple and effective practices to protect yourself and others from influenza infection, the single most effective approach to reducing the spread of influenza infection is annual vaccination, which provides up to 80 per cent protection.
The strains of the influenza virus and the level of immunity to the virus vary from year to year, as the virus mutates frequently. This is why there is a new vaccine issued for each flu season. In addition to getting your flu shot, all ADF members and Defence employees should also:
The influenza vaccine did not contain any live viruses, and therefore it could not cause influenza infection.
It is a safe vaccine but care should be taken in individuals with egg allergies, as the vaccine is grown in eggs.
Influenza is caused by a virus and antibiotics have no effect on viruses.
While antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections, they will not stop influenza from getting worse and will not stop the spread of infection.
The only way to protect yourself is to do the responsible thing by yourself and your mates and head to your local medical centre for the vaccination.
The human influenza virus consists of three strains – A, B and C. Influenza A and B are the cause of outbreaks, however, influenza C is mild and can be likened to the common cold.
Transmission of the human influenza virus is by the way of respiratory aerosols or droplets. Flu virus in respiratory droplets from coughing and sneezing can survive in the air in enclosed environments for up to one hour.
The virus will survive for eight hours or longer on hard surfaces such as door handles, desks, phones, keyboards and computer peripherals. Flu virus transferred to hands from hard surfaces can survive for up to five minutes.
Signs and symptoms of influenza infection include fever (>38C) and chills, muscle/joint aches and pains, dry cough, fatigue or extreme exhaustion, headache, runny nose, sneezing and sore throat.
Additional symptoms of vomiting and diarrhoea may indicate swine flu (H1N1) infection. H1N1 is highly contagious and a person can be infected for approximately five days before the onset of signs and symptoms.
Is it cold or flu? Check your symptoms carefully
Often people are unsure if they have a cold or the flu. The differences between flu and the common cold are:
You should seek immediate emergency care if: