Peak influenza season is expected to hit Victoria in the coming weeks and health experts say it’s still not too late to get the flu jab.
In the past month 7.5 million Australians, 2.1 million of them from Victoria, have suffered from cold and flu. And that figure is expected to rise sharply in July and August.
Research commissioned by cold and flu brand Codral found people are taking an average of up to a week to recover, which leading health experts say is far too long.
“It should really only take four or five days to recover,” Dr Andrew Rochford said.
“People need to make sure they don’t go into complete hibernation when they’re sick. Stay home within reason, but make sure you’re staying active and maintaining energy.”
A combination of cold weather and extended time spent indoors meant people were most likely to get sick in the next month.
“Viruses tend to live longer in cold, dry air … and our immune system doesn’t work as well in the colder temperature,” he said.
Dr Rochford said that, while the start of the flu season had not been as bad as previous years, the worst may be yet to come.
He said it was not too late for people to protect against the virus, and urged people who had not done so to consider getting the flu vaccination.
“I’d still be recommending flu shots … it’s one of the best ways to prevent against influenza,” he said.
“There’s still plenty of time to get the flu, so it’s not too late to get (the vaccine).”
For those who don’t get the jab, prevention could be as simple as washing your hands regularly, Dr Rochford said.
“Make sure you’re … looking after your health in order to prevent getting sick, but also manage your recovery if you do fall ill,” he said.
In Victoria, last year’s horror flu season resulted in a death toll of more than 200 and the 40,000 confirmed cases represented a fourfold increase.