Influenza cases rose sharply
The 2017/2018 flu wave is in full swing - with everything that goes with it: muscle, head and body aches and fever. Those affected usually have to deal with flu for one to two weeks. In addition, many people with influenza suffer from symptoms such as fatigue, dizziness, nausea, cough and sore throat. These symptoms should be clarified with a doctor, because the flu is currently spreading more and more in Germany. The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) reported 15,188 confirmed cases last week - the highest number of weekly illnesses so far this flu season. Schools and kindergartens are also affected. Twelve percent of those affected have to be treated in hospitals.
The Standing Vaccination Committee (STIKO) recommends that everyone with chronic basic illnesses, people aged 60 and over, pregnant women and medical staff get vaccinated against influenza. This emerges from a current RKI bulletin. The vaccine used should adapt to the existing viruses every year according to the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO). The influenza monitoring system of the Influenza Association (AGI) has examined patient samples and found that the current season, the influenza B virus with a share of 74 percent (as of February 2018).
How effective is vaccination?
According to the current RKI report, the overall vaccination effectiveness against laboratory-confirmed influenza with the seasonally prevalent viruses is 46 percent. This is based on AGI examinations of 1,391 patients. According to the RKI, the values indicate a decreasing effectiveness of the vaccination with increasing age. Due to the small number of vaccinated people in the examined subjects, it is currently only an estimate. A more precise result can only be presented at the end of the flu season.
Does vaccination make sense despite its low effectiveness?
According to RKI estimates, vaccination can only protect less than half of those vaccinated against the flu. Nevertheless, the vaccination makes sense due to the high number of flu cases. The RKI points out that influenza vaccination is still the best preventive measure at population level to reduce the risk of illness.
What preventive measures are there besides vaccination?
Basically, the RKI advises everyone to wash their hands regularly, as pathogens can get caught on door handles, keyboards, grab handles, railings and the like. Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands, as the viruses get into your body through the mucous membranes in your mouth and nose. A distance should be kept from people who have symptoms of flu because the flu can be transmitted by droplet infection. This applies to both people with and without vaccination. You can find more information in the article: How to protect yourself from infection.
What to do if you get the flu
Of course, flu should be clarified with a doctor. In addition to medical recommendations, there are a number of home remedies for flu. The central element here is the strengthening of the immune system. So a lot of sleep, warmth, a lot of vitamin C, avoid stress, smoke little (preferably not at all) and speak little. The bedroom should not be colder than 18 degrees. A hot water bottle or electric blanket under the back can also help. Activities like sauna or sport should be avoided. (vb)