Saturday , April 17 2021

After the flu episode is before the flu epidemic

By Sabine Strobl

Soon, influenza viruses will circulate extensively again. The more complicated: you do not know in what order and composition they appear and how much they differ from the previous year. As the current vaccination is always based on the experiences of the previous year, speculation is always involved in its development. Particularly difficult to evaluate are the strains of Influenzagruppe B.

"It is difficult to predict which specific strains of influenza B will appear in a year. Group A influenza has always been the same strain, H3N2 and H1N1 in recent years, but its incidence has been different," explains Günter Weiss, director of the Department of Medicine Internal II of Innsbruck.

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

Vaccination is further restricted by its age-related effect. "In children, we have 90% vaccine coverage, in the elderly about 30%," explains Weiss. The good news: if people get sick despite vaccination, the flu is less severe.

So who should be vaccinated against the flu? The specialist recommends vaccination for people with chronic diseases and the elderly. It is important that members of seriously and chronically ill people also be vaccinated. Weiss: "One tries to build a certain herd immunity around these people." Also people in medical occupations are regularly suggested a vaccination. Here you decide to protect yourself, the family and the adoptee.

Last, but not least, parents repeatedly ask if they should vaccinate their child against the flu. Children who have a chronic condition, such as asthma, advise Weiss to get vaccinated. Otherwise, it is the case to weigh the pros and cons. For example, the flu in children can sometimes be severe. Or parents can not accept that their child needs two weeks of home care. "You have to offer parents a talk about risks and benefits," he said.

From December to April, influenza viruses will be transmitted again. Flu is still a serious illness. Where the onset of the disease usually begins suddenly with malaise, with joint and muscle pains and occasionally coughing. Chills and high fever, up to 40 degrees, reach her. In contrast, the thermometer rises in an influenza infection about 37 to 37.5 degrees, this infection is accompanied by coryza, fatigue, throat and headache. Every year, about five to ten percent of the population of Tyrol suffers from severe influenza.

Influenza ailments in this country hardly go down. "In order to achieve effective protection, the average injection rate would have to be 80%, currently we are between 10% and 15%." For people at highest risk of contracting influenza or dying, a higher rate of vaccine coverage would be important, "Weiss concludes. Therefore, it needs movement in all strata of the population.

The development of science is also exciting. As Weiss points out, there is a lot of research going on "how often can you get the flu in life or if there is permanent immunity". And you also want to know how often you should get vaccinated, every year or every two years? "Although it is a common disease, there are still many unknowns.

Keyword …

… to ward off pathogens

A protection against viruses and co. It is washing the hands several times a day. Sport in moderation (do not overdo it) and a balanced diet will also arm you for the winter. The absence of smoking protects the mucous membranes of the throat.

… thousands of flu patients

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

… Flu Epidemic During Vacation

Flu waves occur from December to April. Possible reason: In cold weather, people are more prone to it and like to move together. In the tropics, influenza occurs throughout the year, in the southern hemisphere in our summer months.

When you sneeze, the droplets responsible for the infection spread within a radius of one to two meters. Pathogens are also transmitted by talking, selling and touching the door handles.

… influenza in comparison

An influenza patient is believed to infect three to five people. For measles z. B. the frequency of infection is higher. A sick person is expected to infect 13 to 20 other people.

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