Protect yourself during flu season
Influenza, also known as the flu, is a contagious viral infection affecting your nose, throat and sometimes your lungs.
In 2022, there was an increase in flu cases from the reopening of international borders and reduced immunity. 2023 is anticipated to be another challenging flu season and getting vaccinated is a safe and effective way to protect yourself and those around you.
To be protected from the peak flu season, which is generally June to September, you should get a flu vaccine anytime from April onwards. The highest level of protection occurs in the first 3 to 4 months following vaccination.
What is the flu?
The flu is more than a bad cold. It is a contagious viral infection that affects people of all ages. While it can be a mild disease for some, it can also cause very serious illness in otherwise healthy people. It can lead to hospitalisation and can cause death. Vaccination is the safest way to protect yourself and others from the flu.
The flu can last 5 to 7 days and is primarily treated with rest and fluid to let your body flight the infection on its own. If symptoms worsen or you’re in a high-risk group, you may need to see your GP. Symptoms include:
- Fever (high temperature)
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle or body aches
- Fatigue (tiredness)
Why should you get vaccinated?
An annual flu vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and those around you from the flu. The strains can change from year to year so the vaccines may be updated each season. Getting vaccinated annually means you'll be protected against the most recent and common strains.
When to get your flu vaccine?
To be protected from the peak flu season, which is generally June to September, you should get a flu vaccine anytime from April onwards.The highest level of protection occurs in the first 3 to 4 months following vaccination. You should get vaccinated every year to have the highest level of protection.
Can COVID and influenza vaccines be given on the same day?
Influenza vaccines can be co-administered (given on the same day) as any COVID-19 vaccine.
Who should get the flu vaccine?
It is recommended that everyone 6 months and older get a flu vaccine annually. The flu vaccine not only protects you but also helps to protect those around you.
The flu vaccine is strongly recommended for some groups who are at higher risk complications from the flu. For these patients, the flu vaccine is free under the National Immunisation Program*:
- Children from 6 months to less than 5 years of age
- Adults aged 65 years and over
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 6 months and over
- Pregnant women (during any stage of pregnancy)
- People aged 6 months and over with medical conditions which increase the risk of complications; cardiac disease, chronic respiratory disease, chronic neurological disease, immunocompromising conditions, diabetes and other metabolic disorders, renal disease, haematological disorders, children aged six months to 10 years on long term aspirin therapy.
*The government funded flu vaccines are subject to availability
Speak to your GP
If you have any concerns or would like more information, book an appointment with your GP to discuss the flu vaccine and your medical history.