Don't be a workplace hero

Sick Australians are putting their colleagues at risk.

Medical experts have urged Australians to follow health warnings and stay at home when sick.

The reminder comes amid one of the worst recorded flu seasons, which has caused more than 175 deaths across Australia.

More than 25 flu-related deaths have occurred in Queensland, with New South Wales (49), South Australia (42) and Victoria (31) recording the highest number of flu-related deaths. 

Despite the death toll, a Workplace Heroes survey found 54% of Australians showed up to work sick and put their colleagues at risk.

The survey results showed that one in five Australians went to work sick, claiming they had too much work to do.

Australian Medical Association Queensland President Dr Dilip Dhupelia said this was not the attitude to have.

“The flu is highly contagious and spread by droplet infection, so the message is clear – stay at home if you’re sick,” he said.

“It’s better than going into work and infecting the rest of the workplace.”

Dr Dhupelia advised those who suspected they had the flu to rest or work from home if necessary.

“Save yourself and your colleagues weeks of illness, coughing and spluttering and take some time off work,” he said.

“If you have the flu, you need to wash your hands regularly, cover up and potentially wear a mask to protect those around you.”

Influenza across Australia in 2019:

  • New South Wales: 49 deaths and 3000 confirmed cases as of 14 June.
  • South Australia: 42 deaths and 18,318 confirmed cases as of June 15.
  • Victoria: 31 deaths and 18,644 confirmed cases between 1 January and 15 June.
  • Western Australia: 29 deaths and 9016 confirmed cases as of June 16.
  • Queensland: 25 deaths and 16,367 confirmed cases as of June 16.
  • Tasmania: 0 deaths and 81 confirmed cases as of June 16.

What is influenza?

Influenza, or the flu, is a highly contagious disease caused by infection from Influenza type A or B (or, rarely, C) virus. These viruses infect the upper airways and lungs but can also affect other parts of the body.

Flu Symptoms

These symptoms usually appear one to three days after becoming infected:

  • Fever.
  • Sore throat.
  • Dry cough.
  • Headache.
  • Muscle and joint pain.
  • Tiredness or extreme exhaustion.

Treatment and prevention

  • Bed rest.
  • Drink plenty of fluids.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Wash your hands regularly.
  • Use a tissue, or the inside of your arm, when you cough and sneeze.
  • Stay at least one metre away from people who have flu-like symptoms.