Influenza (the flu) is a highly contagious disease, usually prevented by vaccination and treated by managing symptoms. Spread by body fluids from infected people, symptoms include fever, body aches, a runny nose and sore throat. Flu can affect anyone but is especially serious for babies, young children, pregnant women, people with underlying medical conditions and older people. The flu is caused by the influenza virus. There are many different strains and they can change every year.
Vaccination is the best protection against the flu and is recommended for everyone aged 6 months and older. In Australia, flu vaccines are given each year to protect against the most common strains of the virus. If you're eligible, you can get flu vaccines for free under the National Immunisation Program. See more information about when to get vaccinated.
Find out more about getting vaccinated against influenza.
Symptoms, diagnosis and treatment
For information about symptoms, diagnosis and treatment, see healthdirect's flu page.
Treatment in residential aged care facilities
From mid-May 2022, packs of the prescription-only medication, Tamiflu (oseltamivir), an oral antiviral used to treat and prevent influenza A and B infections, are being sent to residential aged care facilities in a one-off pre-placement.
This stock is being pre-placed to ensure access to supplies at the commencement of this year’s flu season.
Information for aged care providers
- Responsibilities of approved providers – Use of Tamiflu in residential aged care – Winter 2022
- Test and treat pathway for influenza in residential aged care
Surveillance and reporting
Influenza is a nationally notifiable disease.
We monitor cases through the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System (NNDSS) and report through:
For more on influenza in Australia, you can: