Staying healthy in winter

23 Jun 2020

Tasmanians are continuing to work together to stop COVID-19 from taking hold within our community. Looking after our health is especially important during the cooler months when flu is more prevalent.

If you are feeling sick, are due for a check-up, or have any health concerns, call your relevant health care provider to ask their advice. Remember to let them know if you have any cold or flu-like symptoms.

At the moment GP appointments can often be conducted by phone or video chat (known as Telehealth). In many instances these appointments are bulk billed but it’s a good idea to check with your GP practice when you make your booking. If a face-to-face appointment is required, hygiene and physical distancing measures are in place to keep you safe. Any time you need to go to the doctor phone first before showing up in person so you can find out what type of appointment is best for your circumstances and what to expect. Usually you will be asked some screening questions to check for any symptoms that are similar to those of COVID-19.

Testing for COVID-19 will continue to be critical to quickly identifying any new outbreaks and will secure the health of Tasmanians for tomorrow and beyond. Remember, if you have any cold or flu-like symptoms you can reach out to your GP via phone or call the Tasmanian Pubic Health Hotline on 1800 671 738 to discuss testing options. Testing is easily organised, quick to have done and will be beneficial for you, your family and the broader community.

Winter flu season is upon us and it’s important to recognise that both COVID-19 and common flus share similar symptoms. The flu (influenza) can be a serious disease that causes fever, fatigue, headache, cough, nasal discharge and sneezing. In some cases, severe illness and complications can develop.

Flu is caused by a virus that spreads easily from person-to-person through infected droplets in the air and by hands carrying the virus. This is the same way that coronavirus is spread from person-to-person, although it is a different virus and causes a different disease. Like coronavirus, keeping good hand hygiene and staying home if you are unwell will help stop the spread of flu.

Vaccination is the best way to protect yourself, your loved ones and the community from the flu. Some people are at higher risk of severe disease from the flu virus, including young children, the elderly, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, pregnant women, and those with other medical conditions.

Some Tasmanians are eligible for a free flu vaccine from their GP and for everyone else getting vaccinated at the GP or at a participating chemist is easy to organise and very affordable (a flu vaccine at a chemist is usually less than $20).

Take preventive measures this winter to stay healthy including keeping up good hand hygiene, avoiding crowds, trying to get in some regular exercise and eating a well-balanced diet. It’s good to check in on vulnerable friends and family to see if they need any extra support during the winter months.

For more information about flu visit www.flu.tas.gov.au

More information on how to keep your health on track is available at Primary Health Tasmania.