ACHOO, AAAH-FLU

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Health

The flu is set to outdo itself this year: there have already been a whopping 33,000 confirmed cases since the beginning of the year, which suggests that this year’s season will be worse than that of 2018.

Indeed, in South Australia alone, as of 18 April, there had been 7,414 confirmed cases, according to SA Health. That’s 7,414 cases in less than four months, compared with a total of 5,928 cases in the whole of 2018.

The rise in flu cases in South Australia has prompted health authorities to begin early distribution of free vaccines. "I would urge everyone to contact their GP or immunisation provider to get a flu shot, especially those in high-risk groups such as young children, people aged over 65 and pregnant women, who can get vaccinated for free,” said SA Health disease control expert Dr Louise Flood.

I myself was struck down with the flu last year and, let me tell you, it was not fun. And I’m just your average Joe. I dread to think of the catastrophic effect the illness can have on vulnerable populations.

While a flu jab is a sensible preventative measure, it is not fool-proof. Travellers should also check current flu activity in their region of travel and follow local guidelines and practise healthy habits. These include washing hands often with soap and running water and avoiding contact with sick people. This may sound simple, but every little helps.