Sore throat, fever, headache – reports of patients bed-ridden at home are piling up. Has the first flu wave of this season already started?
Every year, more and more people lie in bed during the fall and winter months. They have had the flu or a flu-like infection. Reports from sick people at home are also increasing these days.
Did the flu wave really start in mid-September instead of October or November as in previous years? Raquel Kaiser of the Humanum Health Center in Uster ZH confirms the observation. “We suspect that two years into the epidemic, the immune system is no longer accustomed to the usual viruses,” says the family doctor. The immune system works like muscles that need to be trained. Training has been canceled due to pandemic measures, which is why perhaps the immune system reacts to influenza viruses a little earlier than usual.
The fact that more people are currently suffering has nothing to do with the change in weather. “Our body can handle it very well,” says Kaiser. Various viruses are present throughout the year. Only in the winter will there be more focal points where you move more easily because people are less outside.
The flu is often confused with the common cold
Typical signs of influenza are sudden onset of headache, sore throat and hiccups, fever above 38°C, chills, dizziness, runny nose, cough, and pain in the chest, joints and muscles. Atypical symptoms such as nausea, diarrhea and vomiting are also possible. The illness lasts between seven and 14 days.
Flu-like infections, also known as the common cold, usually develop gradually and are characterized by a sore throat, runny nose, and cough.
The severity of the flu season varies from year to year. Experts are excited to see flu prices this year after fewer people have been infected over the past two years by the pandemic.
This is how you protect yourself from the flu
The bad news first: The flu can infect anyone. But the good news is that with patience and bed rest, the disease usually goes away on its own.
As a precaution, family doctor Kaiser advises strengthening the immune system by exercising regularly outdoors, airing the air several times a day, trying to avoid stress, getting enough sleep, and eating enough vitamins and nutrients. It also recommends maintaining epidemic prevention measures, such as washing your hands regularly and coughing into the crease of your arm. Because influenza viruses are also more commonly spread through droplets.
The Federal Office of Public Health (BAG) and the cantonal health services recommend annual influenza vaccinations for people at risk. These include people over 65 years of age as well as pregnant women, adults and children with chronic diseases.
Protection lasts only one season at a time and should ideally take place between mid-October and mid-November.