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Flu warning: One-in-five people who get the flu have been vaccinated 

Approximately one-in-five people who get the flu have been vaccinated against the virus, according to a respiratory health expert.

So far 37 people in Victoria have died of the flu this year, and there have been 22,000 confirmed cases.

At the same time last year there had been just 2,500 cases.

Yesterday, Traralgon father James Day died of the virus, despite reportedly having the vaccine.

Neil Mitchell questioned whether public health warnings are being used to placate people.

“We’re told to be vaccinated, wash your hands, sneeze into your elbow. Does it really work or is it just to make us feel better?,” the 3AW Mornings host said.

Associate Professor Lou Irving, Director of Respiratory and Sleep Medication at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, said such precautions are important.

“If someone sneezes or coughs they generate an aerosol that can infect people who are within one to two metres of that cough or sneeze zone. That lasts for a minute or so, then that virus settles from the air and settles on surfaces, and if people touch the surface and then touch their face they can transmit the virus by touching infected door handles, desk tops, etc,” he said.

About 20 per cent of people who get the flu have been vaccinated, so Mr Irving urged everyone to be alert and act quickly if they feel unwell.

“The reason you need to act quickly is that there are anti-viral treatments that can be used in early flu,” he said.

“The other reason to act quickly is to make sure that we’re not spreading it to other people.

“Thirdly, flu can cause problems not just by the virus itself, but it can actually upset underlying conditions.”

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