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The flu and you: help stop the spread.

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MEDIA RELEASE Minister for Health and Ageing

Tony Abbott MHR

8 June 2007 ABB073/07

The flu and you: help stop the spread

Education materials will be distributed through general practices and community pharmacies to inform Australians about how to reduce the spread of influenza.

‘The flu and you’ brochure and poster series is a reminder of hygiene practices that should be adopted to reduce the spread of the highly contagious respiratory illness.

The production of these materials follows a recommendation by the Australian Health Protection Committee to remind Australians about the importance of adopting simple hygiene practices that are critical in reducing the spread of infection, particularly in the event of an influenza pandemic.

The flu virus can travel through the air when a person coughs or sneezes. It can then survive on surfaces for several hours, remaining a source of infection for others. There are, however, simple things everyone can do to help stop the flu spreading: • covering your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough;

• washing your hands regularly and properly; • cleaning household, school and workplace surface areas; • not sharing personal items such as eating and drinking utensils and food; and • avoiding close contact with other people and staying home when sick.

Most healthy adults will recover from influenza within a few days. However, some people, especially those aged 65 years and older and people with certain chronic medical conditions, can suffer very serious, even fatal complications.

Annual vaccination, good personal hygiene and protecting others through staying at home when ill are important prevention measures for influenza.

The Commonwealth Government will provide more than $30 million this year for free influenza and pneumococcal vaccine for all Australians aged 65 years and over and for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 50 years and over, or 15 to 49 years with specific risk factors.

The materials can be found at

For more information call Mr Abbott's office on ph 02 6277 7220.