Influx of Aussies seeking flu meds
There are no confirmed cases in Australia, however a top influenza expert says the flu is probably already in the country.
Pharmacists have been inundated with inquiries from ill people worried that their flu might be a similar virus to that causing global panic.
Customers are asking for Tamiflu, an anti-viral drug believed to reduce the severity of the illness, said president of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, Kos Sclavos.
The World Health Organisation has been calling for doctors to treat swine flu sufferers with Tamiflu.
"We're getting an influx of enquiries about Tamiflu from people… they don't understand that it’s a prescription-only medication," Mr Sclavos said.
"The key message is to go to a doctor if you feel that your flu is much different than the average flu."
He said swine flu has been identified as causing "a lot more muscle weakness" to other common strains.
Airport pharmacies have also reported increased sales of facemasks to concerned travellers and have begun stockpiling flu medication.
Leanne Boromeo, the owner of the Airport Pharmacy in Melbourne, said she had made an additional order for flu medication in anticipation of an influx of sales this morning.
Ms Boromeo also said she usually sold one facemask per week.
"We don't usually sell that many, but I sold six to one gentlemen this morning," she said.
At Sydney Airport, a pharmacist said there had been about 20 masks sold in a couple of hours this morning.
The pharmacist said there had also been an increase in the number of people seeking flu medication.
Pharmacists have also been repeatedly asked if other flu vaccines protected against the deadly strain.
"These vaccines do not cover swine flu," Mr Sclavos said.
Although the government has large stockpiles of Tamiflu which could only be used in a pandemic, Mr Sclavos said that pharmacists also have large stores of the medication.