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Cold and Flu Season

Cold and flu season is upon us and many of our students have been unwell

Cold

Symptoms of a cold can include:

If you have green or yellow mucous coming out of your nose then it's a sign your immune system is fighting the infection. It doesn't mean your cold is getting worse or that you have a bacterial infection.

But if your symptoms don't improve after 10 days, or they get worse, then see your doctor.

Flu

Symptoms for influenza (flu) can include:

  • sudden fever with a temperature of 38 degrees celcius or above
  • dry, chesty cough
  • headache
  • tiredness
  • chills
  • aching muscles
  • limb or joint pain
  • diarrhoea or upset stomach
  • sore throat
  • runny or blocked nose
  • sneezing
  • loss of appetite
  • difficulty sleeping.

 

If you experience any of these symptoms, you should avoid contact with other people wherever possible. If you are concerned about your symptoms, or they become worse, you should seek medical advice immediately. It is especially important to get medical advice early in the course of illness in children, and in people who have certain chronic medical conditions. Your doctor will be able to advise if you have a chronic condition which puts you at particular risk of the complications of influenza.

Never give aspirin, or medications containing aspirin, to children or teenagers who have flu-like symptoms, particularly fever, without first speaking to your doctor. Paracetamol should be used as an alternative to reduce fever.

Remember, while cold and flu medications may relieve the symptoms, you are still capable of passing on the infection and should avoid contact with other people.


Preventing the Spread

Here are five simple ways to prevent the spread of colds and/or influenza


1. Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough

Cold and flu viruses can travel through the air when a person coughs or sneezes. When you cough or sneeze you should turn away from other people and, where possible, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve. Remember to wash your hands as soon as possible afterwards. Where possible, use disposable tissues rather than a handkerchief,  which could store the viruses, and always put the used tissue into the nearest bin, rather than a pocket or handbag.

 

 

2. Wash your hands

Washing your hands regularly even when they aren’t visibly dirty is the single most effective way of killing viruses. Alcohol based hand products are an alternative to soap and water.

Always wash your hands:

*after you’ve been to the toilet
*after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose
*after being in contact with someone who has a cold or flu
*before touching your eyes, nose, or mouth and
*before preparing food and eating.

 

 

3. Don’t share personal items

Cold and flu viruses can spread when someone touches an object with the virus on it and then touches their face.

If a member of your household has the flu:

*keep their personal items, such as towels, bedding and toothbrushes separate; and
*don’t share eating and drinking utensils, food or drinks.

 

 

4. Clean surfaces

Flu viruses can live on surfaces for a number of hours. You should regularly clean surfaces such as tables, benches and fridge doors with soap and water or detergent.

 

 

 

5. Avoid close contact with others

Keeping your distance from others (at least 1 metre apart) when you are feeling unwell will help reduce the chances of spreading the virus to other people.

Avoid going out in public when you are sick. If you have the flu, you should remain at home while you are unwell and have a fever. You should not go to work or school or attend other public gatherings and avoid taking public transport.

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For further information on influenza visit the Australian Government Department of Health’s website or freecall 1800 004 599.