As winter reached its midpoint in Australia, it’s still crucial to remain vigilant about the flu and other viral illnesses. Influenza, commonly known as the flu, can still pose a threat even after winter, with cases continuing throughout the year at lower rates. Therefore, staying informed and considering the benefits of flu vaccination is essential to protect ourselves and our loved ones.

What is influenza (flu)? 

Influenza, or the flu, is a highly contagious viral infection that primarily targets our nose, throat, and lungs.

The flu spreads through tiny droplets released when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks, making it easy for the virus to pass from person to person.

The colder weather during winter also favours the flu virus’s activity and transmission.

Recognising flu symptoms in children: 

Children aged six months to under five years are particularly at higher risk of severe illness from the flu. However, it’s essential to be aware that the flu can impact children of all ages, leading to severe complications.

Look out for flu symptoms in children, including fast or troubled breathing, bluish or grey skin colour, reduced fluid intake, severe vomiting, abnormal wakefulness or interaction, irritability, dizziness, or confusion.

If your child shows any of these symptoms, seek immediate medical advice or call triple zero (000) for an ambulance.

Benefits of flu vaccination

Getting vaccinated against the flu remains crucial even halfway through winter. The flu vaccine is the most effective way to protect yourself and your family from the potentially serious consequences of the flu.

NSW Health and the Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care strongly encourage everyone aged six months and above to get a flu vaccine for the best protection against serious illness, both during the peak winter season and beyond.

Remember, flu cases can still occur after winter and throughout the year, so taking the flu vaccine offers lasting benefits.

Free flu vaccines for high-risk groups

Certain groups are at higher risk of severe illness from the flu and are eligible for a free flu vaccine.

These groups include children aged six months to under five years, individuals aged 65 and over, Aboriginal people aged six months and above, pregnant women, and those with serious health conditions like diabetes, cancer, immune disorders, obesity, severe asthma, kidney, heart, lung, or liver disease.

Protecting these vulnerable groups is vital for promoting overall community health.

Minimising the risk of flu and COVID-19 spread

In addition to the flu, winter also brings other viral illnesses like the common cold and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). To reduce the risk of flu and COVID-19 spread, we can take simple yet effective measures:

  • Stay up to date with recommended flu and COVID-19 vaccinations.
  • Practice regular handwashing and sanitisation to eliminate germs.
  • Wear masks in crowded, indoor places to reduce the spread of viruses.
  • Opt for outdoor or well-ventilated spaces for gatherings to minimise close contact.
  • If you are at higher risk for severe illness, consult your doctor and discuss eligibility for antiviral medicines.
  • Refrain from visiting vulnerable individuals if you have cold or flu symptoms or have tested positive for COVID-19 or influenza.
  • Consider taking a rapid antigen test before visiting vulnerable loved ones to ensure their safety.



As we navigate through the latter part of winter and into the year, remaining vigilant against the flu and other viral illnesses is crucial.

By staying informed, getting vaccinated, and adopting preventive measures, we can ensure a healthy and safe winter and beyond for everyone. Remember, prevention is better than cure.

Take action to protect your family from the flu and other viral illnesses.

For more information on influenza and vaccinations, visit or


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