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Flu risk and trends in Australia

While it can happen any time, it's more common to catch the flu, or experience flu-like symptoms, in the colder months of the year (April to October).

Read on for information about current flu risk levels and trends, both across Australia and by state or territory. This page also offers tips and advice to help you prevent colds and flu.


The flu risk Australia-wide is minimal (updated 7 December 2018).


By state or territory

The current flu risk is minimal for ACT, NSW, SA, TAS, WA and low for NT (data for Qld and Vic is currently unavailable).

6 ways to fight the flu

Get a flu shot

Wash your hands

Cover coughs and sneezes

Bin your tissues

Avoid sharing

Keep surfaces clean

Self-care at home

NOTE: Antibiotics won't help

Feeling unwell?

Check your symptoms and decide what to do next using the healthdirect Symptom Checker.

Use the service finder to locate a pharmacy or doctor in your area.



Flu trends and forecast

Flu risk typically stays low during the summer months and rises to a moderate or high risk at the peak of flu season. The risk is only intense in years of unusual flu activity, such as in 2009 when a new strain of influenza emerged.

When the blue line is within the grey shaded area in the below graph, it's a typical flu season. If the blue line rises above the shaded area this may be the first sign of an increase in flu-like illness in Australia.

Read here if you would like to learn more about how Healthdirect Australia's flu data is collected and calculated.

This graph contains data up to 7 December 2018.


Learn more about colds and flu

Someone with the flu (influenza) may show symptoms that include a cough, sore throat, sinusitis or fever.


Is it a cold or a flu? View this infographic to tell the difference:

Watch this video to learn more about flu vaccination, why it's so important and when to have the shot:

NOTE: This video was produced by the Department of Health in 2016, but the information is still relevant.

Last reviewed: November 2018

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