Wrestling With the “Aussie” Flu

According to the latest statistics, around 4,5 million people in the UK are suffering from  “influenza-like symptoms”. Some churches have even implemented infection prevention measures, the first time since the 2008/9 swine flu outbreak. Priests are encouraged to disinfect their hands before distributing Holy Communion, also, handshakes are banned during services.

The Republic of Ireland is faring slightly better than the UK, but the number of people infected grows steadily since this weekend. In this article, we will tell you more about the virus and the ways to fight it.

What is H3N2?

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The H3N2 virus was baptised “Aussi flu” as in 2017, over 170,000 cases of the virus were confirmed in Australia. It is a subtype of influenza A, which is a more serious infection than the B type. The virus is more severe than the ordinary flu, and the mortality rate is higher than usual. However, one can take reasonable precautions to minimize the risk.

Who is at risk?

who is at risk

In most cases, the flu will pass by like any other seasonal virus. But if you’re a child, an elderly person over 65, a pregnant woman or have a pre-existing health condition (such as asthma, diabetes, heart or lung disease), you belong to a high-risk group.

What are the symptoms?

  • Body Aches
  • Fever (≥ 38º)
  • Headache
  • Sore Throat
  • Dry, chesty Cough
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Exhaustion
  • Minor Congestion

Children can also experience nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea, get pain in their ears. If you develop sudden chest pain, have difficulty breathing or start coughing up blood, you should go and see your doctor immediately.

Prevention methods


It is strongly advised you get a flu jab (vaccination) if you are not sick yet. Although the flu vaccine effectiveness ranges from 40 to 60 per cent, it’s better than nothing. Flu jabs are most effective if done every year.

If you have flu-like symptoms, you need to become the most unfriendly person in the world for a few days. Don’t go to school or work and try to keep your socialising to a minimum (no big group meetings, family gatherings, kisses or hugs) until you get better. Otherwise, you will just help to spread the disease. If you feel a bit out of sorts, bed rest for a couple of days, some paracetamol or ibuprofen and plenty of fluids should take care of it (picture above). However, if you experience more serious symptoms, try getting an antiviral medication prescription (Tamiflu or Relenza for example).

Do not wait! You need to take them within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms, otherwise, they may lose their effectiveness. I personally tried Tamiflu, and it worked like a charm.

If you absolutely need to go out, here’s another tip: put some Vaseline in your nose. Yes, it sounds crazy but the petroleum jelly actually creates an impenetrable barrier between you and the virus, it will definitely protect you if you come in contact with somebody who is ill.

Good luck and stay safe!

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Natalia Ilina
Natalia Ilina

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