Frequently Asked Questions

Below is a list of questions often asked by FluTrackers.

Please contact us if your question is not answered below and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

We have answered some frequently asked questions regarding the addition of the ‘headache’ symptom to our survey. You can view the FAQ on our Facebook page here.

 

Can I change the email address or postcode that I use for the survey?

Yes, you can change your email address or postcode using either of the following options;

1) Simply open one of our previous weekly emails and click on the link at the bottom of the email to request an update link. This allows for secure access to update your details.

Or

2) Contact us to update your new email and/or postcode for you.

Please don’t register for the study all over again, as your old information will not be linked to the new email address.

What if I have chronic symptoms, such as a cough, hay fever or frequent headaches?

I cough/experience headaches most weeks – am I going to bias your data? These are common questions from our participants. We understand this can appear to distort the data, however, we analyse the onset of symptoms from your weekly data, and tease out chronic symptoms versus new symptoms. We also look at different combinations of responses such as time off work or normal duties, contacting a health professional and swab test results to track the presence of COVID-19-like illness and influenza-like illness in the community. Thus, it is best to report whatever symptoms you have, regardless of their chronic nature, as accurately as possible.

Why have you added the ‘headache’ symptom question?

Headaches are a common symptom of COVID-19. In combination with other symptoms, this symptom will aid in identifying early signs of potential community outbreaks of COVID-19. We ask that you report any headache you experience, regardless of it being mild, severe, ongoing, or temporary. A migraine can trigger a severe headache, please report these and answer ‘yes’ to the headache question.

I’m changing jobs/retiring. Can I still participate?

Yes, we are able to change your email address if you are retiring or changing jobs. You can either do this by clicking on the link at the bottom of your weekly emails, or you can contact us and advise us of your preferred email address.

I’m moving interstate or to a different region. Can I still participate?

Yes, you can still participate in our FluTracking surveys if you are moving to another state. FluTracking is an Australia-wide research initiative, and we have expanded our survey to operate in New Zealand and Hong Kong. If you are moving within Australia, all you need to do is update your postcode. This can be done by clicking on the link at the bottom of your weekly emails, or you can contact us and advise us of your new postcode.

Can I answer the survey for other people?

Yes, you can add other people in your household to your weekly survey. They should be regular members of your household.

Simply open one of our weekly survey emails and click on the link at the bottom of the email to request an update link. This will allow secure access to add household members.

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I have made a mistake when responding to the survey and have entered the wrong details. What do I do?

We can amend responses to influenza vaccination, COVID-19 vaccination and swab test result questions, however, we are unable to update responses to symptom questions. If you have mistakenly entered the incorrect information, you can contact us via email.

I’ve stopped receiving emails from you. Why is this?

On occasion, our emails may get blocked by automatic SPAM filters. Please add flutracking@flutracking.net as a ‘safe sender’ to prevent this from happening.

What if I am away on holidays and miss the survey?

You can still complete the survey when you return. Each email you receive has a link that corresponds to a particular reporting week. Simply click on the email and answer the questions for that week.

If you cannot recall the week, it is best to skip the survey for that week.

If you were completely out of the country for the week(s) in question, it is best that you do not respond to the survey. Although we could add an extra button to allow participants to indicate they were out of the country, we try to keep the survey as brief as possible. To allow this, we have to accept some low level of inaccuracy in the data to enhance participation.

If you are away for an extended period of time (e.g. >2 weeks), you can contact us to place your profile on hold. Otherwise, you can click on the unsubscribe tab and select to be re-invited for the following year.

I don’t get sick and/or I am not vaccinated. Why should I participate?

We encourage people to participate regardless of their state of health or vaccination status; sick or healthy, vaccinated or unvaccinated. This allows for a more representative participant cohort. Having participants who only report when they are ill would introduce biases in our data. Most importantly, you would be contributing to scientific research and helping to track influenza and COVID-19 in your local community!

I’m moving overseas. Can I still participate?

Yes, you may still participate if you are moving to New Zealand or Hong Kong. If you are moving to New Zealand or Hong Kong, you will need to unsubscribe to your Australian profile, by either clicking the ‘Unsubscribe’ tab on your profile, or you can contact us. You will then need to create a new account by clicking ‘Join’ on our home page and selecting the country you will be moving to.

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I’d like to suggest something for the survey. How should I go about this?

We appreciate any feedback and welcome any suggestions. You can get in contact with us by emailing hnelhd-flutracking@health.nsw.gov.au in Australia or nzmoh_flutracking@health.govt.nz  in New Zealand.

Can I invite my work colleagues?

Yes, this is a great way to raise awareness about preventing influenza and COVID-19 transmission in the workplace. You may send an email with a message like;

Hi everyone,

To help limit cold, influenza and COVID-10 in [your organisation], this year we are becoming FluTrackers- it takes less than 15 seconds per week to answer a few simple questions. In doing this, we can help track flu and COVID-19 around Australia and New Zealand. It also serves as a great reminder that COVID-19 and influenza vaccines are now available, and we can limit the spread of these infectious diseases around the office by staying home when sick and washing your hands regularly. Go to https://info.flutracking.net/ for more information.

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How confidential are my details?

The security of your personal information is important to us. All information you provide will be kept confidential, in accordance to the Health Records and Information Privacy Act 2002. The information you provide will be stored on password protected databases and your personal email address will be kept in a separate file to the health information you provide to us. For more information, visit Privacy Policy | Flutracking.net

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How long will my data be used for?

The data we collect will be kept for the duration required under the State Records Act 1998. When the information is no longer required for the purposes for which it was collected, it will be discarded of.

Australian Government Department of Health
New Zealand Government
Hunter New England Local Health District (HNELHD)
Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI)
The University of Newcastle
New Zealand Ministry of Health