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A Melbourne athlete who was hospitalised after suffering a bout of ‘super flu’ has warned Australians they can be struck down in the worst possible way, no matter how healthy they are.
Entrepreneur and athlete Louis Phillips, 23, would normally be considered a picture of health and wellness — he’s very athletic, and is the cofounder of a gym business.
But a bout of influenza left Mr Phillips bedridden and on a hospital drip for the past week, as doctors warn the flu is coming back with a vengeance this winter after two years of Covid-safe measures.
Mr Phillips said his experience began as a regular bout of influenza – but when the going got tougher he knew he needed the help of medical professionals.
Young fitness entrepreneur, Louis Phillips (pictured) spent a day in hospital with the ‘super flu’ that has doctors extra concerned this winter
Mr Phillips shared a Tik Tok online with the caption ‘Ayyo this super flu almost got me’ after being hospitalised with influenza
Mr Phillips (pictured) said his ‘normal flu’ quickly became so hard to manage he had to go on an IV drip for his body to recover fluids
‘It started as a normal flu and fever but it just didn’t seem to be getting any better,’ he said.
‘I couldn’t get any fluids or food down which also meant no Panadol or Ibuprofen. Then of course that made my headache worse and general condition decline.
‘My energy was so low, I could hardly stand or walk.’
Mr Phillips said he was coughing all the time, had a brutal headache and ‘couldn’t really see very well’.
‘It felt like my eyes were crossing. I’d get super fatigued after doing really easy things like filling up a bottle of water,’ he said.
When his early symptoms got progressively more intense and serious Mr Phillips took himself to hospital.
Mr Phillips (pictured) lives an active lifestyle and runs a health business NineToFive Fitness with a friend, he didn’t expect to get so hit so hard in his bout with the flu
Mr Phillips (pictured left) leads an active and healthy lifestyle, a tussle with the flu normally would be out of the question
‘I was confident it was a flu but I just wasn’t sure how rough it could get.
‘When I kept declining I was getting more and more worried It was something else. Not sure what I thought it was but knew it needed someone with medical knowledge to look over it.’
Mr Phillips headed to the hospital on Thursday. He went through two bags on an IV drip to get his fluid levels higher.
Because of his symptoms he had hardly consumed anything in 48 hours.
‘I got put straight onto a drip and started to feel better. My mistake was a lack of fluids early on, I wish I drank more water, Gatorade, and general electrolytes.’
Mr Phillips (pictured in hospital) didn’t know how rough his flu could get and began to worry as his condition kept worsening
‘My temperature went from 39.5 to 38.5 degrees in two hours. The nurses and doctors are genuine legends, they worked so fast.’
Mr Phillips was allowed out of hospital late on Thursday night and says he’s feeling much better now.
His story is one many Australians have already faced. On Thursday, New South Wales Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said influenza cases have already been rising quickly already this year.
‘There were 2,000 new flu cases notified in NSW in the week ending 7 May 2022, compared with 1,024 cases in the previous week, as well as around 60 emergency department presentations for flu-like illness that required an admission to hospital,’ Dr Chant said.
‘Super-flu’ and ‘super-colds’
Doctors have warned that ‘super’ colds and flus will sweep across Australia this coming winter in the wake of Covid lockdowns.
Doctors have urged the public to make use of the flu vaccines,
Last November a so-called ‘super cold’ first appeared in the UK, with victims suffering flu-like or Coronavirus-like symptoms, but repeatedly testing negative to Covid.
Now as Daily Mail Australia reported earlier this year, a similar outbreak is happening in Australia.
The symptoms of a ‘super flu’ are similar to colds, flu and Covid – which can can be difficult to tell apart.
‘We are seeing more of these upper respiratory tract infections,’ Sydney GP Dr Charlotte Hespe told Daily Mail Australia.
There were 2,000 new flu cases in NSW in the week ending 7 May 2022, compared with 1,024 cases the week before (pictured: Mr Phillips in hospital during his heavy run in with influenza)
A ‘super cold’ is breaking out in Australia after two years of Covid isolation left the nation vulnerable to a host of new diseases as the country re-opens
‘A cold is a classic viral upper respiratory tract infection – irritable sneezing nose, lots of fluid from your nose, cough, sore throat, runny, sticky eyes.
‘You may also get a sort of raspy cough but that’s it by and large. You should recover within five to seven days.’
But she warned Australia was ripe for a flu outbreak – and it is much harder to tell the difference between flu and the Omicron Covid strain with its milder symptoms.
Sydney GP Dr Charlotte Hespe warns symptoms are similar to flu and Covid, and can be difficult to tell apart, but doctors says even super colds should not be as severe as flu
‘We will see the flu emerging more,’ she said. ‘
‘The flu is very unpleasant.
‘It’s similar to the symptoms of Covid; you get headache, aches, pains and a fever.
‘To diagnose flu, you need a fever and headache as well as some respiratory symptoms such as the sore throat or nose and cough – but you might not get those.
‘It’s predominantly often those more systemic symptoms of being unwell with fever, headache, aches and pains and feeling miserable. Recovery is 10-14 days.’
Tell-tale signs such as a loss of taste and smell are often Covid-only symptoms which can differentiate it from flu. Rapid antigen or PCR test results still remain the best way of identifying Covid.
But GPs are now warning that Australia has never been more susceptible to colds and flus than it is right now after being cut off from the rest of the world for so long.
Travel bans during the pandemic combined with lockdown measures and mask mandates have dramatically reduced our immunity to normal flus and colds.
Australia is ripe for a flu outbreak, warn doctors, and it is much harder to tell the difference between flu and the Omicron Covid strain with its milder symptoms
Travel bans during the pandemic combined with lockdown measures and mask mandates have dramatically reduced our immunity to normal flus and colds
‘People who we’ve been protected against from for the last two years are travelling again,’ Dr Hespe added.
Professor Catherine Bennett has warned the flu may kill even more people than Covid this year
‘They’re bringing with them viruses that are rampant in the winter countries that aren’t rampant here.’
There are even fears the flu may kill more people than Covid this year.
‘We have less immunity against the flu now because we’ve skipped two flu seasons,’ epidemiologist Professor Catherine Bennett warned.
‘You might see fewer coronavirus deaths in winter because vulnerable people are actually more vulnerable to flu.’
Health chiefs have a flu shot campaign set to rollout within weeks but medics are worried vaccine fatigue will stop many from getting the jabs.
‘We do have a vaccine and it is highly effective,’ Dr Hespe said.
‘But I’m hearing a lot of people saying, ‘For goodness sake, I’ve had enough of this…’ Please don’t think that – it really does provide you with really good protection.’
‘I am sure we going to have a particularly bad cold and flu season this year.
‘I recommend everybody continues to wear face masks when you’re in crowded situations – and particularly when you’re around anybody who may not be well.
‘And if you’ve got symptoms, stay at home and don’t go and spread it to somebody else.’
‘Super-flu’ v Covid: What’s the difference?
The ‘super-cold’ can be difficult to differentiate from the Omicron strain of Covid-19.
The main difference is the flu-like ‘super cold’ should not result in a loss of taste or smell.
Those are Covid-only symptoms.
The ‘super-cold’ usually involves an extreme sore throat, a hacking cough and migraines.
The similarities with Covid are aches, pains, fever and fatigue.
Rapid antigen or PCR test results are the best way of identifying Covid.