Worse than before Corona?: A wave of colds is rolling over Germany

Sore throat, coughing and runny nose, many are currently struggling with cold symptoms.

Worse than before Corona?: A wave of colds is rolling over Germany

Sore throat, coughing and runny nose, many are currently struggling with cold symptoms. Sickness rates are relatively high. Some have the feeling that it hasn't been this bad for a long time. Is that correct?

Daycare centers where all the teachers are sick, offices where people cough and snort - at the moment you could get the impression that almost everyone has a cold. This impression is not entirely wrong. In its current weekly report on colds, the Robert Koch Institute also comes to the conclusion that more people are currently suffering from acute respiratory problems than at the same time last year.

Even before the corona pandemic, a steady and sometimes significant increase in the ARE rate was observed from the beginning of August until the autumn months. However, the RKI experts call the currently very strong increase "very considerable". In its weekly report on acute respiratory diseases, the Influenza Working Group speaks of significantly more doctor visits for ARE than in the previous week. However, this assessment relates to the situation around September 20th.

Well over 200 virus strains are involved in causing the common cold. Rhinoviruses, coronaviruses, adenoviruses and enteroviruses are the most common. An analysis of the test results identified respiratory viruses in a total of 67 (59 percent) of the 113 samples submitted, "including 33 (29 percent) samples with rhinoviruses, 18 (16 percent) with SARS-CoV-2, eight (7 percent) with parainfluenza viruses (PIV), four (3 percent) with influenza viruses, three (3 percent) with respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and one (1 percent) sample each with human metapneumovirus (hMPV) and human seasonal coronavirus (hCoV)". The influenza research group identifies the simultaneous circulation of various respiratory pathogens as the cause of the increasing number of cases.

It is reassuring that the number of related hospital admissions remains at a low level. So even if many feel bruised and have a cold, hardly any of them have to be treated in hospital. Last year, at the beginning of October, there was an unusually severe wave of illness among small children, some of whom had to be treated in hospital with serious illnesses.

The number of severe acute respiratory infections (SARI) is at a level comparable to that of the pre-pandemic years, according to the Influenza Working Group. There is probably no single cause for the current wave of autumn colds. As it gets colder, the number of colds increases every year. This is because viruses benefit from the drier cold air and the faster drying of mucous membranes indoors.

They can penetrate the human body more quickly, especially since not all parts of the body are equally well supplied with blood when the outside temperatures are cooler. Because there is often less ventilation, viruses also accumulate more quickly in closed rooms.

The experts at the RKI currently see a "little braked transmission of acute respiratory infections". This means that a resumption of increased hygiene measures could probably prevent some infections. This includes washing hands in particular, but also wearing masks. Otherwise, there are of course things you can do to strengthen your immune system. A diet rich in vitamins and fibre, enough sleep and moderate exercise help the immune system, as do sauna sessions, cold showers, reduced sugar consumption and stress reduction.

Small children have an average of eight to ten infections a year, adults two to five. So if you get caught, it's best to stay at home. Then you don't spread the viruses any further. Everyone has to decide for themselves whether they can work. However, when the temperature is high and the symptoms are severe, it makes sense to give the body rest so that it can concentrate on fighting off infections. Nasal spray and painkillers are usually sufficient as supportive medication. Rest and plenty of fluids are often the best medicine.

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