In the past few winters, the flu epidemic was largely absent in the shadow of Corona. Influenza infections are now also increasing significantly in the south-west. But it is not too late for the most important protective measure.
Stuttgart (dpa / lsw) - After two winters largely without a flu outbreak, influenza infections are back in large numbers and unusually early in the southwest. A spokesman for the Ministry of Health in Stuttgart announced that the flu wave had also arrived in Baden-Württemberg earlier than usual this year. The State Health Office has recorded more than 1,000 cases since the beginning of October. In the same period last year there were only 34 cases.
The ministry explains the increase primarily with the fact that in recent years the corona pandemic has resulted in higher protective measures and people have had less contact with each other. "There have been no major waves of influenza," said the spokesman.
The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) had dated the start of the flu epidemic in Germany to the week ending October 30, which was comparatively early. The results from a monitoring system in which samples from people with acute respiratory diseases are examined are decisive for the assessment.
In the practices of general practitioners, on the other hand, corona infections were still prevalent at the moment, said a spokesman for the General Practitioners' Association. The waiting rooms are full, but the situation is manageable. The symptoms of flu and corona infection are often very similar, the spokesman explained. While flu usually starts suddenly and brings with it a high fever and a severe feeling of illness, the course of corona is often slower and is often accompanied by a runny nose and a loss of smell and taste. Patients would find it difficult to tell them apart. In both cases, it is important to isolate yourself so as not to endanger others.
A flu vaccination is still advisable, as Health Minister Manne Lucha (Greens) emphasized. The influenza wave usually extends over a period of several months. "In this respect, it is not too late to be vaccinated against influenza now," said the minister. It could take up to two weeks for the vaccination protection against flu to be fully established. "The real flu is not a simple cold, but a serious illness that can be fatal, especially for people in the risk group," said Lucha.
In Germany, a flu vaccination is recommended for people over 60, pregnant women, the chronically ill, residents of old people’s and nursing homes and people with an increased occupational risk.
According to the ministry, flu vaccinations have got off to a good start in the southwest. But there is still room for improvement, especially among older people, said the spokesman. Unfortunately, the vaccination rates in Baden-Württemberg are usually also lower for influenza than in other federal states. In general, however, it can be said that anyone who is sick should stay at home, take sick leave if necessary and cure the illness.