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Dont forget about the influenza

The seasonal influenza is coming

Apart from Sars-CoV we should not forget about the seasonal influenza that might spread over the northern hemisphere during the next cold months, whereas on the southern hemisphere outbreaks are harder to predict.

Seasonal influenza is an acute respiratory infection caused by influenza viruses which circulate in all parts of the world. There are four different types of Influenza viruses, at which the types A and B (and their subtypes) viruses can cause seasonal epidemics.

Symptoms of an influenza infection (cough, fever, generally feeling unwell, sore throat) are similar to a Sars- Cov infection and therefore an influenza infection always has to be taken into account when considering Sars- CoV and vice versa.

Transmission mostly happens when droplets from coughing or sneezing are spread through the air, but also infection by contact is possible.

Therefore, also similar to Sars-CoV basic hygienic and protective measures (reduction of hand contact, wearing a mask, hand desinfection) could help to prevent an infection. Time from infection to first symptoms is around two days in average and in healthy people a week of rest without any specific
therapy (symptomatic therapy) is enough to overcome the infection.

However, there are some persons at special risk for an aggravated course. These are especially the young, the elderly and people with chronic diseases and/or immunosuppressive illnesses or medication.
They might profit from antiviral therapy and therefore need to see a doctor as soon as possible (best within first two days of symptoms). The best way of prevention or to avoid a severe course of illness is an annual vaccination.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends vaccination for pregnant women (any stage of pregnancy), children between 6 months to 5 years of age, elderly people (> 65 years), people with chronic medical conditions and health-care workers. The Global Influenza Surveillance and Response System (GISRS) of the WHO monitors the influenza viruses circulating in the world and recommends compositions of the vaccines twice a year (for the two hemispheres).
Currently, there are tri-and quadrivalent vaccines (against subtypes of Influenza A and B) in use.

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