Genuine flu cases? Not many, if any

PEOPLE are always claiming to be struck down by the flu, but how many of them are actually suffering from the life-threatening illness?

Not many, apparently.

Although some people are genuinely suffering from influenza, Sunshine Coast general practitioner Wayne Herdy reckons that for most of us, it is actually something much less sinister.

"Very few of them have anything like the flu," Dr Herdy said.

"I would say that most general practitioners on the Sunshine Coast so far this year have seen one or two genuine cases of the flu and possibly one or two hundred cases of other respiratory viruses.

"At any given time anyone can have one of a large number of viruses, most of which are not the flu."

Colds and flu cause an estimated 1,500,000 lost work days, 300,000 doctor visits and 18,000 hospitalisations in Australia every year.

About 400 Queenslanders died from the flu in 2010 - a statistic that rose by almost 50 in 2011.

"Influenza is really quite a major illness and makes people really sick, with most sufferers having difficulty getting out of bed," Dr Herdy said. "They have high temperatures well over 38 degrees accompanied by headache, muscle aches and pains.

"Simple things like colds, head colds and coughs are caused mostly by harmless viruses."

Dr Herdy said there were generally about 12 respiratory viruses on the Coast at any one time and they were mostly transferred by hand.

ALL ABOUT THE FLU

About 450 Queenslanders died from influenza1 in 2011

Each year in Australia, colds and flu cause an estimated 1,500,000 lost work days, 300,000 doctor visits and 18,000 hospitalisations



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