Fever, headache and body aches: The 2017/18 season of flu has started
In the cold winter months, many people are sick - many think a harmless cold. But be careful: Influenza can also be behind symptoms such as fever, headache and body aches. According to experts, the flu wave of the 2017/18 season has started. There are ways to protect yourself from infection.
Many people get sick in winter
Fever, cough, headache and body aches: it is not uncommon to catch an infection in wet and cold weather. Because the symptoms are similar, it is not entirely clear to some people whether they suffer from a "simple" cold or flu. The likelihood that the symptoms are caused by influenza is high. Because, according to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the flu wave of the 2017/18 season has recently started.
Flu and cold symptoms are similar
Since the symptoms of the two diseases are similar, the difference between the common cold and the flu is not entirely clear to many.
You can tell whether you have the flu or an influenza infection, among other things, by how quickly the symptoms develop, because a real flu occurs suddenly. In addition, the symptoms are usually more intense.
Typical for flu are fever, sore throat, dry cough, headache and body aches. Sufferers feel weak, are usually without appetite and sometimes suffer from chills.
Currently, more and more Germans are infected with influenza viruses.
Flu season has started
According to the Influenza Working Group (AGI) at the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the flu wave of the 2017/18 season started by definition in the 52nd calendar week of 2017. Since then, the number of sufferers has increased.
"The activity of acute respiratory diseases (ARE) increased nationwide in the first calendar week (KW) 2018," write the experts in the current weekly influenza report.
“The east and north (west) were in the area of slightly increased ARE activity. Hesse and North Rhine-Westphalia were already in the area of significantly increased ARE activity, ”it continues. Regional differences are not unusual, however.
"On average, more than one in five patients with flu symptoms actually carry influenza viruses," said RKI spokeswoman Susanne Glasmacher in a message from the dpa news agency.
"But this is not unusual and also normal for the season."
Health experts advise flu shots
According to the information, the most frequently detected influenza viruses so far this year belonged to type B. Type A dominated in the past season, which often leads to more deaths from flu waves.
But type B viruses are therefore not considered harmless. According to experts, the occurrence of viruses can also change in the course of a flu season.
Health experts are calling for vaccinations against the viral disease. The vaccination needs to be refreshed every year because the vaccine is reassembled for every season to meet the latest flu viruses.
According to the RKI, it can also offer protection at the beginning and in the course of the flu wave. But: "After the vaccination, it takes 10 to 14 days for the vaccination protection to be fully established," writes the RKI on its website.
The Standing Vaccination Committee recommends flu vaccination especially for people at increased risk of serious illnesses. These are primarily people over the age of 60, chronically ill and pregnant women.
Ultimately, everyone has to decide for themselves whether a flu vaccination makes sense.
Reduce the risk of infection
In order to protect yourself from infection, it also makes sense to strengthen the immune system, to keep away from the sick and to wash your hands regularly.
In addition, one should not cough and sneeze in the hand, but in the crook of the arm or a handkerchief. Sick people should avoid contact with other people in order not to infect them.
According to scientific studies, flavonoids, which are found in black tea, red wine and blueberries, can also prevent infection.
But if you get caught, the main thing to take care of yourself for flu and colds is to drink a lot and to stay in bed for a few days.
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