In 2019 Australia experienced the worst flu season on record with more than 310,000 people presenting to hospital and health services across the nation with influenza symptoms.[1] This is why it’s important to recognise and understand how to fight the winter-flu to keep all workplace environments healthy. 

While you can catch the flu at any time, it’s more likely to happen in the colder months of the year. Seasonal influenza is an illness caused by seasonal influenza viruses. These viruses are spread from one person to another when an infected person coughs or sneezes and the virus is breathed in. It can also be spread through direct contact with fluid from an infected person’s coughs or sneezes, and from touching a contaminated surface and then touching the eyes, nose or mouth.[2]

The flu is spread easily through families, friends, workplaces, childcare centres and schools. You should be mindful of colleagues and customers around you by:

  • Staying away from busy places until 1 week after the start of symptoms
  • Washing your hands consistently with high grade sanitiser and soap
  • Covering your coughs and sneezes
  • Having a box of tissues on hand

Early and recognisable signs of the flu include: coughing, a sore throat, sinusitis or fever. So how can you treat the flu? Mild flu symptoms often get better on their own without any treatment, but people with more serious cases may need to go to the hospital. The easiest way to treat the flu is by resting and drinking plenty of fluids, particularly water.

However, preventative actions are always better than reactive. So what are the best ways to fight the flu this winter?

  • Get a flu shot
  • Use high grade soaps when washing hands
  • Keep tissues close and accessible
  • Avoid sharing cups, plates and cutlery
  • Keep surrounding surfaces clean and disinfected