Flu wave overflows Germany: clinics crowded
The flu is raging in Germany. According to the Robert Koch Institute, it has already claimed 562 lives - and the number of unreported cases is probably much higher. 261 of them killed the “Yamagata” virus. Some clinics reject patients due to overcrowding.
Emergency in the clinics
A flu wave has been rolling over Germany for weeks, and the number of illnesses is steadily increasing. The hospitals are overwhelmed, doctors become infected and the triple vaccination does not protect against the aggressive viruses.
Overtime and contract work
For example, in the city of Peine, medical personnel push overtime beyond the threshold of exhaustion. Temporary workers also step in. However, appointments have to be postponed.
Patients are rejected
German hospitals are generally well prepared for epidemics. But the number of patients suffering from the “Yamagata” virus skyrockets to such an extent that the clinics are overcrowded. Some sick people therefore have to be treated on an outpatient basis, or the doctors even move them to cities where there is less emergency.
The infection rate of medical personnel is now very high. The sick doctors and nurses are now absent in the treatment of patients.
Flu viruses are tricky because they mutate and the vaccinations have to be adjusted again and again. The usual triple vaccination is not up to the “Yamagata” virus. However, health insurance companies only pay for adequate quadruple vaccination for high-risk patients.
How does quadruple vaccination protect?
According to the Robert Koch Institute, the current vaccination helps 25-52% against flu in all age groups - it is 55-68% effective for influenza A (H1N1). On the other hand, it only helps against influenza A (H3N2) in about 7% of cases. It is said to work against influenza B in between 36% and 54% of patients. The aggressive “Yamagata virus” belongs to the Influenza B group.
According to the Robert Koch Institute, the quadruple vaccination 2018/19 should be taken over regularly by the health insurance companies. However, this is too late for the people who are now exposed to the virus without protection.
The current situation
According to the Influenza Association, the flu wave began in the 52nd calendar week of 2017. In the 10th calendar week of 2018, the activity of the viruses is still high. Influenza B viruses are the most common at 72%, followed by influenza A (H1N1) viruses at 25% and influenza A (H3N2) viruses at 3%.
How high is the risk?
The risk of catching flu is still very high in all parts of Germany. There is only a normal risk in “oases” on the West Frisian North Sea coast, in the north of Western Pomerania, the Bavarian Alps, as well as in the low mountain ranges in Rhineland-Palatinate and Hesse.
What to do?
If you are currently infected with the flu, be sure to see a doctor. Many people mistake flu for a flu-like infection. While the latter passes by itself after a few days, the Spanish flu, for example, claimed millions of lives.
So do not try to fight the flu with home remedies: while calf wraps, sage tea or cold baths help with a flu infection, they lose valuable time with the aggressive "Yamagata" virus.
Prevent the flu?
Flu spreads through droplet infection. If the affected person sneezes, contact with the mucous membranes in the nose and mouth is enough - i.e. breathe so that they become infected. You can protect yourself, for example, by covering your mouth where many people are traveling.
Wash your hands. If you shake hands with someone who is infected, they easily transfer droplets from their hand into their mouth. With the current flu epidemic, it is even advisable to disinfect your hands with a product from the pharmacy - especially if you are in contact with many people at work, for example as a teacher or educator, this is advisable.
If you are infected yourself, protect others by sneezing into a cloth or their clothing. Refrain from visiting the sick, better call your friends on the phone.
Who is particularly at risk?
Flu is particularly difficult for people who already suffer from chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular problems or respiratory problems. The same applies to pregnant women, toddlers and the elderly. (Dr. Utz Anhalt)