Strong flu: don't underestimate the symptoms of the disease
It had been speculated weeks ago that there could be significantly more flu cases this season than last winter. Indeed, influenza cases are currently increasing in some regions. Health experts warn against underestimating the disease.
Life threatening situations
The current flu season started much earlier in some areas of Germany than in previous years. Influenza can usually be treated well, but: "For people with underlying diseases, flu can be a life-threatening complication," wrote the Bavarian State Office for Health (LGL) on its website. Other health experts are also currently pointing out that it is by no means a harmless disease.
Serious illnesses in the elderly
As the dpa news agency reports, the president of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), Lothar Wieler, warns against underestimating the flu in view of the strong flu wave.
In an interview with the newspaper "Ruhr Nachrichten" he said: "Anyone who feels sick and is at higher risk of developing a serious illness, ie older people or people with chronic previous illnesses, should consult their family doctor."
According to the information, the currently circulating influenza AH3N2 virus is known to lead to serious illnesses in older people.
Consult a family doctor early
In addition, the flu symptoms in this age group "are often not as typical as in young adults or children, in particular the disease does not have to be accompanied by a fever", says the current influenza report of the Influenza Association (AGI).
“Nevertheless, this age group has the highest risk of complications, the most common complication of influenza in adults is pneumonia. Older people should now consult their family doctor at an early stage in the flu wave, even in the case of non-febrile acute respiratory diseases, who can then specifically treat the influenza or if there is pneumonia, ”the experts said.
South and east of Germany particularly affected
The influenza report also shows that the flu is currently particularly widespread in southern and eastern Germany. The focus is also on North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate.
"But since the numbers are still increasing, it can shift in the next few weeks," says Wieler. The flu wave started earlier and is already significantly stronger than with a moderate course.
"So far, 27,000 flu cases have been officially reported from across Germany, including 85 deaths, especially among older people," the expert explained. However, not all of them are reported.
This is also due to the fact that many patients are not sure whether the flu or a flu infection is responsible for their symptoms. Not all of them go to the doctor, and people with cold symptoms are not always tested for influenza there either.
Protect from infection
According to Wieler, flu vaccination may still make sense, but it takes around 14 days to set up vaccination protection.
In principle, all people - regardless of vaccination status - should observe general hygiene recommendations.
The RKI President recommends washing your hands more often after shaking hands. “Anyone who already has typical symptoms such as coughing or sneezing should be careful not to infect anyone. That means: use disposable handkerchiefs and, if necessary, cough up your sleeve. ”
In order to protect yourself from infection, it makes sense to keep away from sick people and to strengthen the immune system. (ad)