Don't let flu get to you through winter

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NASTY BUG: Flu symptoms are very similar to those of the common cold but usually much more severe.

NASTY BUG: Flu symptoms are very similar to those of the common cold but usually much more severe.

The flu is a viral infection caused by one of the strains of the influenza virus, of which there are many constantly changing and mutating strains.

It is commonly transmitted in winter, when the body's immune system is weakest. Those most at risk of the flu include the very young and elderly, as well as pregnant women and anyone with a compromised immune system.

"The best and most-likely way to defend yourself and others against the flu is by getting vaccinated ahead of peak flu season," according to pharmacist Mark Davis, from Terry White Chemmart Hamilton, in NSW.

"Once you contract flu, you can't treat it, only the symptoms. The peak season for laboratory-confirmed flu cases is each year from June to September.

"Therefore, to ensure the vaccine is active and protecting you throughout this period, the best time to get vaccinated is usually between March and May each year."

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Many pharmacists have stocks of the quadrivalent flu vaccine available, meaning it protects against the four most-common strains of flu virus.

Your local pharmacy may also have a range of winter defence products that may boost your immune system and decrease the likelihood of you catching the flu or, if you do, may help soothe your symptoms. The best cures for mild cases of the flu are time and rest.

If symptoms persist or are severe, make sure you consult your GP or speak to your local pharmacist.

The best and most-likely way to defend yourself and others against the flu is by getting vaccinated ahead of peak flu season.

This story Don't let flu get to you through winter first appeared on Wollondilly Advertiser.