With the first day of winter here already, we’re sharing five simple tips to help stop the spread of influenza and keep you healthy this flu season.

Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze and cough

The flu virus can travel through the air so when you cough or sneeze you should turn away from other people and, where possible, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve. If you can, use a disposable tissue rather than a handkerchief, and put the used tissue in the nearest bin rather than in your pocket or handbag.

Wash your hands

Regular hand washing is the most effective way of killing the flu virus. Hands should be washed with soap and lathered for at least 15-20 seconds. After rinsing, hands should be dried with a clean towel or disposable paper towel. If it’s not possible for you to wash your hands, alcohol-based hand sanitizers can be used as an alternative.

Don’t share personal items

If someone around you has the flu, avoid sharing food, drinks and utensils. At home, keep personal items such as toothbrushes, towels and bedding separate.

Keep surfaces clean

Use soap and water or detergent to regularly clean surfaces such as tables, benches and fridge doors – particularly if you live with others.

Avoid close contact with others

If you have the flu, avoid going out in public. You should not go to work, school or attend public gatherings. If you do need to go out, try to keep your distance from others (at least 1 metre).


Further information on influenza is available from the Australian Government’s Department of Health.