According to Public Health England, the UK is being gripped by the deadly “Aussie Flu” with cases soaring over 48% over the past 7 days. These cases have seen UK GP Surgeries and Hospitals struggling to cope during Christmas period.
We’ve seen lots of mis information and “fake flu” news in the press so we’ve put together an Aussie Flu FAQ for our UK readers.
What is the Aussie Flu?
The Aussie Flu or H3N2 is a mutated strain of the flu virus which has been proven to be much more resistant to flu vaccines. This resistance has seen infection rates soaring down under with infections over twice the expected annual rate.
What are the Symptoms of Aussie Flu?
The Symptoms of Aussie flu are very similar to those caused by normal flu. The main difference is that they are much more severe and symptoms are likely to last much longer.
The Symptoms of Aussie flu are much the same as “normal” flu, they include:
- Sore throat and cough
- Fever & Muscle aches
- Runny nose and sneezing
Can I be vaccinated against the Aussie Flu?
Those at high risk from Aussie Flu can receive the Flu vaccination free from the NHS. Those not in the high risk groups can visit their local pharmacy for the “flu jab”. The Aussie flu virus is continuing to transform so it’s a 100% protection against the strain.
How to protect yourself from the Aussie Flu
We’ve covered Flu Prevention in much more detail on our Flu Prevention page. Our top tips are to avoid direct contact with anyone with Flu like symptoms and make sure you follow strict hygiene practices, especially in public places. Together this will reduce your exposure to the virus by over three times.
Who are the most vulnerable to Aussie Flu?
Much like the “common flu”, the most vulnerable people to Aussie Flu are the very young, elderly and those with preexisting medical conditions. Those in these categories may have a weaker immune system and may encounter much more severe symptoms than others.
What is the difference between Swine Flu and Aussie Flu?
Remember the swine flu outbreak? That was caused by the same strain of flu (including others). Its suggested that over half the population was caught Swine flu in 2011, a scary thought for those at risk of complications of flu or with a weakened immune system.
How to treat Aussie Flu:
Much like swine flu, tamiflu has been the weapon of choice for those suffering from Aussie flu and are at risk of developing health complications. In fact, health authorities in Australia are struggling with shortages of the drug.
There is no cure for the flu but there are things you can do to make yourself more comfortable including the following.
- Drinking enough fluids to prevent dehydration
- Steam inhalations with menthol, salt water nasal sprays or drops
- Vapour rubs (such as Vicks)
- Hot drinks (particularly with lemon), hot soups or spicy foods can help to ease irritation and pain in your throat and help reduce congestion.
- Sucking sweets or lozenges which contain menthol or eucalyptus may sooth your throat.
- Gargling with salt water may help a sore throat.
- Resting – you may need to stay off work or school for up to a week.
Can you die from the Aussie Flu?
The Aussie Flu has already claimed its first victims in Ireland, but much like the common flu virus its the complications of the Aussie Flu which can cause death or serious harm.
Do you need more information or are you worried about your flu symptom
If you’re concerned about yourself or a loved one who is suffering with the symptoms of flu we strongly suggest that you call the NHS 111 line. This line is for urgent medical assistance and is available 24 hours a day. For more information on the 111 service see the NHS 111 website
Let’s hear from you!
Have you got the Aussie Flu? Have you got any tips to help relieve the Symptoms? Please let us know in the comments below