AUS: 1300 630 488    NZ: 0800 1477 6287

6 steps to surviving the flu

Even if you line up for a flu shot, you might get unlucky. Here is our guide to surviving flu season if you get struck down with a bug.

It’s an annoying fact that even if you get the annual flu jab – and it’s something all seniors should do – it’s not perfect and you may end up with a bout of the flu nonetheless.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in 2017 there were 1,255 deaths from the influenza virus – more than double that in the previous year. And the majority of deaths were older Australians.

“From age 70, numbers of deaths increased progressively,” the ABS said. “The age group with the highest number of deaths was 90-94 years with 312 deaths recorded. This aligns with evidence from the Department of Health reporting that the elderly were most susceptible to the influenza strain in 2017.

“For both males and females, the highest rate of influenza death occurred in those aged over 95 years, with 454.7 and 409.9 deaths per 100,000 persons recorded respectively.”

This year it’s predicted that up to 4,000 Australians will die from the flu with national statistics recording three times the usual number of flu cases.

So what do you do if you get the flu?

See your doctor

Your local GP can tell you if you really do have the flu so that you can treat it properly with a simple swab of the back of your throat. If it does come back positive for influenza then ask for an antiviral. Nothing really cures a virus except rest and sleep, but if you catch it early enough then antiviral medication can shorten the flu for you.

Keep hydrated

You have to make sure you keep your fluids up. This is why the old remedy of chicken soup works a treat, but water and juices are good too.

Rest up

It may sound obvious, but some people find it very hard to take a few days off. If you can’t stand the idea of staying in bed all day, curl up in a favourite chair and nap when the mood takes you. Sleep is key in fighting off the virus.

Try natural decongestants

Instead of pumping yourself with drugs, try steaming up the bathroom with hot water to try to clear those sinuses. Or use a saline nasal spray to help clear your nasal passages and get you breathing again.

Tame your temperature

With the flu usually comes fever, so make sure you look after yourself by taking aspirin or cold and flu tablets to help keep the fever under control. And if you have a sore throat, use lozenges and gargles to give your body a boost when it comes to fighting off the germs.

Eat well

You will be feeling sorry for yourself, but avoid a diet of pure comfort food. While chicken soup might be okay, you don’t want to wallow in biscuits, chocolate and ice cream. Eat regular meals despite a reduction in appetite and have plenty of vegetables.

Seniors may be in a danger group when it comes to the flu, but if you take the time to treat it properly you should be up and around again in no time.