Australian flu: How to know if you have the virulent strain

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Over 1,600 sick Brits have been diagnosed with a strain of flu originating in Australia.

The H3N2 strain of the virus is currently circulating in the UK and has caused deaths in Ireland.

Around 300 Australians have already died from it.

It's an unusually aggressive strain with violent symptoms, including:-

- Sudden onset fever

- A high temperature; at least 38C

- Diarrhoea or stomach pain

- Nausea and vomiting

- A dry, hacking cough

The illness lasts for at least a week - two if you're unlucky.

As flu is a virus, there is no cure; you can only alleviate the effects by getting plenty of sleep and fluids, and taking Ibuprofen to lower your temperature and relieve aches and pain.

Flu does not respond to antibiotics and a doctor should not prescribe them, unless the patient has contracted a secondary bacterial infection.

Those most at risk of catching Aussie flu are the elderly, pregnant women, young children and those with chronic conditions such as diabetes, lung and heart disease. Most of the deaths have been people in these vulnerable groups.

A Yorkshire 'heat map' of the disease's spread has revealed that areas with the highest number of reports include Doncaster, Hull, Halifax and Wakefield. The area with the lowest number of reports appears to be Harrogate.

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