The first week of June not only marks the start of winter, but also means that flu season is well and truly upon us – and Australians are being urged to consider protecting themselves with a vaccination this season.
According to independent health body the National Prescribing Service (NPS), approximately 10,000 people in Australia are hospitalised every year due to flu and its complications.
NPS clinical adviser Philippa Binns believes the benefits of the flu vaccine are clear in terms of protecting individuals and communities.
"Having the flu vaccine protects you, it protects at-risk people you may be in contact with, and it can reduce the chance of needing to use antibiotics to treat flu-related complications," Dr Binns said yesterday (June 5).
"Healthy people can be struck down by severe influenza but for some people catching the flu can be very serious, and have a higher risk of complications."
At risk groups include those with a long-term medical condition such as diabetes or severe asthma, older Australians over the age of 65 and pregnant women.
Antibiotics are usually not recommended for colds and flus, however there may be times when it is necessary.
Some private health insurance policies may help to cover the cost prescription medicines not covered by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).