Get flu shots now: experts

WITH winter here in earnest flu experts say Gympie region residents should brace themselves for the coming flu season and take steps now to safeguard against what can be a life threatening virus.

The Influenza Specialist Group has urged people to get vaccinated as soon as possible as time is running out for those still unprotected.

ISG chairman Dr Alan Hampson said with cold weather bearing down, it was vital everyone seriously considered getting vaccinated and that people practice good personal and household hygiene to minimise the virus spreading.

"Don't put it off any longer - get vaccinated as soon as possible as it can take up to two weeks to develop immunity from the time of vaccination," he said.

"Influenza is a highly contagious virus and while we can never predict how bad this flu season will be, it's wise to expect the worst."

And it's not just the over 65s, those with underlying medical conditions, pregnant women and indigenous Australians who are at risk.

"We've seen in the last few years that a number of flu-related deaths have been in people without recognised underlying illnesses and that the risk to those under 50 has been higher than previous years."

People can also help protect high risk members of their family, including very young children, by getting vaccinated.

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