Your nose is runny, your throat is sore, and you feel exhausted and exhausted. The reason for this is often a cold, which doctors call a viral infection. The flu can have up to 30 different pathogens, including the well-known rhinoviruses. After a few days of rest, however, the world seems to be back in order again in most cases. It should be emphasized, however, that a cold, like the flu, can also be severe.
The "real" one flu
"Even we, as doctors, sometimes have a hard time figuring out if it’s a cold or the flu.", admits general practitioner dimitrios lazanakis.
Flu is triggered by influenza viruses. Symptoms like muscle-, limb-, headache, bronchitis and fever appear very fast and strong. If the flu is severe, it can cause pneumonia, meningitis or cardiovascular problems. Thus, possible complications can prolong the duration of the illness, which is usually five to seven days.
To help patients, it’s important to seek treatment in time, says doctor. First, a swab is taken from the nose and throat with the aim of finding out which virus is involved. "Flu viruses are constantly mutating, which is why there are so many subgroups", explains lazanakis. The so-called H3N2 viruses have become particularly common.
Dried up slimy skin
Especially in the autumn and winter months, people complain about the flu. But why actually? "The viruses survive best in cold and dry air", doctor lazanakis clarifies the situation. This dries out the mucous membranes and makes them more vulnerable to attack, which makes it easier for viruses to take hold.
Even in the summer months there is a risk of catching the flu.
In addition, the rooms are more irregularly ventilated during the cold season, which means that the pathogens remain in the air. Through droplet infection, i.E. Coughing or sneezing, they get into the mucous membranes of others. "We have to distinguish between a flu season and a flu wave, there is a clear difference between them!", says lazanakis.
A season is the period from the beginning of october to the middle of may. Whereas the period from january to april is called a wave – when most people suffer from flu and it has its highly active phase. "In the last flu season, one out of four patients who came to my practice was infected with flu viruses", lazanakis says the majority of them had not been vaccinated. Which, however, was necessary.
Clemens richter, press spokesman for kronach pharmacies, adds: "the actual risks of vaccination are much lower than the more serious consequences of influenza."
Vaccine for prevention
The robert koch institute monitors flu outbreaks and their most dominant viruses. The best adapted among them are vaccinated. Lazanakis says: "it’s a vicious circle. The vaccine has to be constantly adapted because the viruses mutate so quickly."
In order not to take a risk, he is clearly in favor of having his vaccination refreshed every year. It should also be taken into account that the vaccine only reaches its full effectiveness within 14 days. "I would particularly like to address people who belong to the risk group – people over 60, pregnant women, HIV patients, medical staff and the chronically ill, i.E. Those suffering from diabetes or COPD" appeals lazanakis. New this year is that the health insurance will cover the cost of vaccinations for everyone.
Although there were shortages of flu vaccine in some places last year, things are looking good this year. Richter is confident: "at the moment all pharmacies in our region are well supplied. It is understood that this is a snapshot."
Accordingly, it is possible that the situation could be different again in a few weeks’ time. At the moment, according to richter, there is no cause for concern, as there is no shortage of vaccines to fear.
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