What should you know about flu?

The influenza virus is changing all the time. How will you protect yourself in 2021?

Flu is caused by the influenza virus.

Previous infection or vaccination is no guarantee of protection against it – the flu virus is changing all the time and there are different strains.

How serious is flu?

While most people have relatively mild flu symptoms, flu is a potentially serious disease that can lead to hospitalisation and sometimes even death.

It can cause bronchitis, croup, pneumonia, ear infections, heart and other organ damage, brain inflammation and brain damage.

An estimated 163,000 flu cases were detected in Australia each year between 2015 and 2020.1

An estimated 1,500,000 work days are lost to flu and its associated complications each year.2

How can you recognise the flu

Flu symptoms include a runny nose or sneezing, cough or sore throat, fever and chills, headache, body aches, vomiting and diarrhoea (which is more common in children).

Most flu symptoms last up to a week but coughing can continue for up to two weeks or more

Calendar illustration  showing up to 1 week
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Body ache
Illustration of a person's head
Illustration of a person's head with emphasis on throat
Sore throat
Illustration of a thermometer
Illustration of a tired person
Calendar illustration  showing 2+ weeks
Illustration of a person coughing
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Flu is not the same as a common cold – flu symptoms tend to be more intense.

It is very difficult to distinguish between the symptoms of COVID-19, influenza and a cold. If you have any infectious or respiratory symptoms (listed above), self-isolate yourself and contact a healthcare professional, as you may need testing for COVID-19.

What are you doing to protect yourself?

Talk to your health professional about flu prevention and vaccine choices to match your needs

Find out more