It's Cold & Flu Season - Chief Pharmacist Georgina Twomey

This winter is expected to bring a cold and flu season like no other. Over the past couple of years, restrictions and border closures meant influenza infections declined significantly. This year, travel is back, and the borders are open. The usual cold and flu infections are expected to sweep across the nation… and it’s already begun.

Queensland did well to reach the benchmark of double-dosed COVID-19 vaccinations ahead of reopening the state. Now Queensland Health encourages people to get their flu vaccination ahead of winter – with the peak of sickness being at the end of July. The benefit of antibodies ensures that the spread of diseases will be less severe.

If we see an uptake in flu vaccinations, it will relieve the burden on our health care system, the general population and the aged care sector. Especially before visiting our loved ones, a flu vaccination is now essential before visiting any aged care facility to protect those with vulnerable immune systems. Socially distancing, good hygiene and wearing masks when unwell is also just as important.

You may have noticed that a ‘super cold’ is spreading around the community. Influenza, just like COVID-19, is a highly contagious respiratory infection. The flu currently going around has symptoms almost identical to COVID-19. A rapid-antigen test can help distinguish the difference between the two.

When you fall ill, your immunity is compromised. This makes you more vulnerable to other viruses. Just remember, our pharmacists are highly trained to identify different symptoms and to help you get back to your full health. Our pharmacists have also dispersed hundreds of flu vaccinations in the past few months. It is great to see our community taking precautionary measures. On a different note, a spike in scooter-related injuries has also been hitting the local community. I’ve been seeing a lot more scrapes, grazes and abrasions. On our recent family trip to Tasmania, it was clear that the uptake of e-scooters is a huge trend across Australia. Sterilising and dressing a wound appropriately can avoid a bad infection. Check out page 4 of this month’s catalogue for some suggestions.

Stay safe from all things related to ill health this winter.