Thursday , March 23 2023

After the flu episode is before the flu epidemic


De Sabine Strobl

Soon, flu viruses will re-circulate on a large scale. The complicated thing: you do not know in what order and composition they appear and how much they differ from the previous year. Since current vaccination is always based on the experiences of the previous year, speculation is always involved in their development. It is particularly difficult to evaluate strains of Influenzagruppe B.

"It's hard to predict which specific B-strains will occur in a year." The influenza A group has always been the same strain, H3N2 and H1N1, in recent years, but their incidence was different, "explains Günter Weiss, director of Department of Internal Medicine II of Innsbruck.

Sometimes a virus is minimally altered so that virological memory can identify and fight the virus. Sometimes a virus changes more and the immune response works worse. Weiss: "The problem with the vaccine is that it's a year behind, so to speak."

Another limitation is the age-related effect of the vaccine. "In children, we have a vaccination coverage of 90%, about 30% in the elderly," explains Weiss. The good news: If people get sick despite vaccination, the flu is less severe.

So who should be vaccinated against influenza? The expert recommends the vaccination of chronic ill people and the elderly. It is important for the members of the serious and sick people to be vaccinated. Weiss: "It's trying to create some immunity around these people." Also, people who are engaged in occupations are regularly suggested to be vaccinated. Here you decide to protect yourself, your family and the one who helps you.

Last but not least, parents repeatedly ask if they should vaccinate their child against influenza. Children with a chronic condition, such as asthma, advise Weiss to vaccinate. Otherwise, weigh the pros and cons. For example, flu in children can sometimes be severe. Or parents can not accept that their child needs two weeks of home care. "It has to give parents a conversation about risks and benefits," the expert said.

From December to April, flu viruses will be transmitted again. Influenza is a serious illness. If the onset of illness usually starts suddenly with disease, with joint and muscle pain and occasionally coughing. Anger and fever, even up to 40 degrees, come to it. Instead, the thermometer increases in a flu infection of approximately 37 to 37.5 degrees, this infection is accompanied by a curved nose, fatigue, throat and headache. Every year, about five to ten percent of the Tirol population suffers from severe influenza.

Influenza disease in this country is barely decreasing. "In order to achieve effective protection, the average injection rate should be 80%, currently we are between 10 and 15%. For people who are at greater risk of getting flu or die, a rate of coverage greater vaccination would be important, "concludes Weiss. So it needs movement in all the layers of the population.

The development of science is also interesting. As Weiss points out, there is a lot of research on "how often you can get flu in life or whether you have permanent immunity." And you also want to know how often you need to vaccinate each year or maybe every year ? "Although it is a common illness, there are still many unknowns.

Keywords …

… removes pathogens

Protection against viruses and Co is washed several times a day. Sport moderately (not exaggerated) and a balanced diet, too, fight for the winter. The absence of smoking protects the mucous membranes from the throat.

… thousands of patients with influenza

Every year in our latitudes, five to ten percent of the flu contract population during the cold season. More than 100 people are hospitalized each season at the Innsbruck Clinic for severe flu.

… influenza epidemic during holidays

Flu waves take place between December and April. Possible Reason: In cold weather, people are more prone to this and like to move together. In the tropics, influenza occurs throughout the year in the southern hemisphere in the summer months.

When they sneeze, the drops responsible for the infection spread over a radius of one to two meters. Pathogens are also transmitted by talking, hawking and touching heels.

… flu in comparison

It is believed that a patient with influenza infects three to five people. For measles z. B. the frequency of infection is higher. Here, an ill person is expected to infect between 13 and 20 people.

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