Following reports today of a local Eurobodalla nursing home being in lock down since last Friday due to an Influenza A outbreak it is a timely reminder to the community to be aware of Influenza A and to take immediate action if you suspect you or your family have contracted it. Influenza A is a highly contagious respiratory illness. It's quite different from the common cold, which is less severe.
How can you tell if you have a cold or the flu? Explore this infographic below to compare their symptoms and debunk the most common myths.
If you get influenza, you need to rest at home and avoid infecting others. It’s not usually dangerous if you are healthy, but can cause serious problems if you’re not.
What is influenza A?
Influenza A is caused by infection with a virus. It is often called ‘the flu’.
There are three types of influenza virus: A, B and C. Influenza A is more serious than B and C. It is the only type known to cause widespread outbreaks.
The influenza virus is always changing and evolving. In Australia, a new strain comes out each winter.
As well as infecting people, influenza A virus can infect animals, including birds (causing avian flu) and pigs (causing swine flu, H1N1). In some cases, these types of influenza can be passed on to humans.
Influenza A symptoms
If you have influenza, you will have some or all of these symptoms:
fever and chills
headache and muscle aches
feeling tired and weak
sneezing, and stuffy or runny nose
sore throat and cough.
Children may also have abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting.
It’s a bit like a very bad cold, but a cold doesn’t give you aches and pains.
If your symptoms get worse instead of better, it’s best to see a doctor. You should also get help straight away if you feel chest pain, short of breath, dizzy or confused, or you are vomiting a lot.
Influenza A treatment
If you have influenza, you are likely to get better within a week or so by:
resting in bed
taking mild pain killers to relieve your pain
drinking plenty of liquids
eating light foods, when you’re hungry.
In some people, the flu can be severe and lead to serious complications like pneumonia. This is mostly likely to affect the very young, the elderly, pregnant women, Indigenous people, and people with chronic health problems.
If this sounds like you, your doctor might give you antiviral treatment to reduce your symptoms and prevent complications.
Preventing influenza A
Influenza spreads very easily from one person to another. If you have influenza, you should stay at home while you’re sick, cover your face when you sneeze or cough, and regularly wash your hands.
If you are around someone with influenza, you can help avoid getting sick by regularly wiping surfaces they touch (use a cleaning cloth with detergent) and washing your hands.
It may help to get a yearly vaccination against influenza, before winter. The vaccine is particularly recommended if you are at risk of complications of influenza, or if you live or work with people at high risk of getting the flu. Source NOT TOO LATE TO VACCINATE “While numbers of people with influenza are currently low, there has been indications the flu season has begun and we can expect to see a peak in influenza cases over coming weeks.” Director Public Health, Tracey Oakman said. “I encourage everyone who hasn’t had the influenza vaccine this year, to consider getting the vaccine in the next week or so, because it is the most effective way to prevent the spread of flu in the community,” said Mrs Oakman. “An estimated 3,000 Australians die every year, either directly from the seasonal flu, complications due to the flu, or pneumonia.” Mrs Oakman said the influenza vaccine is recommended for everyone from six months of age who wish to reduce the likelihood of becoming ill with influenza.It is available free under the National Immunisation Program for people at high risk of complications. They are: • People 65 years and over • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 6 months to 5 years • All Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Persons 15 years and over • Pregnant Women • People Medically at Risk including anyone who is six months of age and over who has: o Heart disease o Severe asthma o Chronic lung condition o Chronic illness requiring medical follow-up or hospitalisation in the past year o Diseases of the nervous system o Impaired immunity o Diabetes o Children aged six months to 10 years on long-term aspirin therapy are also at risk of complications from flu. source: Media Release