April 24, 2018

Flu and pneumonia can affect anyone

As we’re getting close to winter and it’s starting to cool down, the rates of influenza and pneumonia are already on the rise. In 2017, we saw an increased number of people affected by these life-threatening infections so it’s important to be aware of the signs and symptoms, particularly if you are at risk, such as those living with a respiratory condition. Anyone, at any age, including the fit and healthy, can contract the flu or pneumococcal pneumonia. Your risk for getting these infections does however increase with age because our immune system naturally weakens, making it harder for our bodies to fight off infections and diseases.

Prevention

  • There are steps to protect yourself against these serious infections including:
  • Annual influenza vaccination. Getting the vaccine from the end of April and into the beginning the May will protect you before the peak flu period, from around June to September.
  • Pneumococcal pneumonia vaccination

Both vaccines are funded under the government’ National Immunisation Program (NIP) free for those in at risk groups, some of which include:

– All Australians aged 65 years or older

– People with medical conditions such as diabetes, cancer or a chronic disease affecting the lungs, heart, kidney or liver.

– Indigenous Australians (ages vary depending on vaccination, speak to your doctor)

– Pregnant women (influenza).
Find out more at: beta.health.gov.au/topics/immunisation

  • Practicing good hand and home hygiene to minimise the spread of germs
  • Making your life a smoke-free zone by quitting smoking and/or reducing your exposure to second-hand smoke.

If you experience any symptoms, such as cough, fatigue, fever or difficulty breathing, speak to your doctor. For more information, resources and access to patient support services phone our freecall Information and Support Line.

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