CENTRAL Queensland will have only two weeks notice when a killer flu reaches Australia.
More than 20 children have already died in the United States from the H2N3 strain of the virus.
Rockhampton doctor Joan Chamberlain expects the flu to hit Sydney and the lower regions first, because of the many people coming through the airport.
"This year's flu is going to be different from past years and should hit us around May or June," she said yesterday.
"For the past two years, flu vaccinations have been similar, but this year is different, this flu is unique."
Dr Chamberlain said the flu had started in the Northern Hemisphere and slightly changed as it went around the world.
Emerald woman Di Stanley has been miserable for the past two weeks after catching a dose of the flu but does not know what strain it was.
"I think I'm the victim of an airplane-borne influenza, after my brother came to visit from interstate," she said.
"It started off in my tonsils, then progressed to piercing headaches.
"It felt like an icepick attacking my tonsils, ear drums and head all at once."
Ms Stanley said she regretted staying at work and battling through the flu.
"I should've taken time off work," she said.
" I obviously could've infected an entire workplace."
"Next time I'll be curled up on the couch watching daytime TV."
Local GPs are starting to stock this year's flu vaccine and residents are encouraged to go and get their shot.
"I absolutely am getting a flu shot this year in my best interest," Ms Stanley said.
- This winter, more than 80,000 people across Australia will seek medical attention as a result of influenza.
- A further 15,000 people will require hospitalisation.
- Over 2500 Australians are estimated to die each year from complications due to influenza.
- People most at risk of complications from influenza are the elderly, pregnant women, young children, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and people with suppressed immune systems.
Ways to Help Stop Spreading the Flu
- Wash your hands regularly with soap and water.
- Don't share eating and drinking utensils or food and drinks.
- If unwell, protect other people by covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when
- coughing or sneezing.
- Stay at least one metre from people who are coughing and sneezing.
- Regularly clean surfaces such as tables, benches and fridge doors.
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