Why do doctors warn of the seriousness of influenza this year?

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that “so far, this season, there have been at least 2.8 million flu patients, 23,000 hospitalizations, and 1,300 influenza deaths,” according to a report. Posted by Eat This Not That.

In addition to the importance of receiving the influenza vaccine, experts advise taking safety precautions to stay healthy, as Anna Van Tuyl, director of the intensive care unit for emergency medicine at Staten Island University Hospital, says, “It is important to take preventive measures such as wearing masks, frequent hand washing, and staying in home when a person is ill.

deadlier this year

“It is difficult to say that influenza is more prevalent this year than in recent previous years when cases were at historic lows, in part due to global Covid restrictions,” explains Professor Charles Bailey, medical director of a hospital in California. “It may be a result of less exposure to influenza.” usual” in recent years for the same reason, [وهو الإجراءات الاحترازية لكوفيد]There is generally lower immunity to influenza than in a typical year as a large proportion of the population has recently been exposed to influenza.”

“As we enter the 2022-2023 winter season, fewer people are wearing protective masks and people are again gathering in person,” says Dr. Patricia Pinto Garcia, an American pediatrician. “As a result, the world could see a rise in not only influenza but also cases of Covid.” -19 and RSV, so it’s important for everyone to get a flu and COVID-19 vaccine to better protect against infection this winter.”


risk of death

“There are a number of risk factors that can increase the risk of severe illness or even death from influenza. Symptoms of influenza vary from person to person. Some people may experience very mild symptoms while others can become very ill, with progression of Symptoms can lead to pneumonia or sepsis.Vulnerability to severe influenza and complications depend on several factors, including age, as those over 65 and those under 2 years of age are more likely to develop complications, and pregnancy is another risk factor. “If a woman is pregnant, her immune system tends to be weaker, so she is more likely to get sick. Getting a flu shot while pregnant is important for that extra layer of protection.”

Also, people with chronic health conditions are at increased risk of developing severe flu symptoms. In particular, patients with asthma and those with other lung diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, are at greater risk. Other conditions that could be a risk factor include diabetes, obesity and heart problems.

Influenza vaccines and strains

“Vaccines generally do not prevent an immunized person from becoming infected, but they do more or less reduce the severity of any symptoms of infection and usually prevent serious repercussions or death,” explains Dr. Bailey.

“Influenza is actually several strains of the same virus,” says Dr. Pinto García. “The dominant strains differ from year to year. Scientists must anticipate which strain is likely to dominate each year and the vaccine is made based on trajectories from previous years. If the trajectories are off, (Which is bound to happen because viruses change all the time), and the flu vaccine may be more or less effective from year to year.”

The importance of vaccinations

It also means that a person’s immunity against influenza does not last long, because he does not have protection from one year to the next. So both of those things mean that the virus is still circulating in the population. Add in the fact that many people choose not to get a flu shot and then there will always be a situation in which the virus can still pass easily through the community. But it’s important for a person to keep in mind that even if the flu vaccine isn’t 100% effective against influenza, it can still prevent serious illness from getting worse. In other words, people who have been vaccinated and become infected with influenza can suffer less and usually get better faster than people who did not receive the vaccine.

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time of infection

According to Dr. Bailey, “It is possible that there will be one day before symptoms appear until several days after symptoms appear, but people may be contagious for a week or more after the onset of illness. In general, a patient is unlikely to be contagious after a week of symptoms.” Or 24 hours after the disappearance of fever and respiratory symptoms such as cough or shortness of breath, but people who are immunosuppressed can be contagious for a longer period.

The reason for the increase in influenza cases

“The flu is most common during the winter months and spreads either by droplets or aerosols,” says Dr. Pinto García. “Transmission of the virus can occur between two people when someone coughs, sneezes or talks. Over the past few months, there have been precautions that limit gatherings in public places.” “Enclosed spaces and wearing masks in general to protect against COVID-19. As these restrictions begin to be abandoned and people return to normal activity, the virus will spread more easily between groups. Therefore, it is likely that there will be an increase in the number of influenza cases during 2022-2023.”

Common symptoms and treatment

Dr. Bailey says, “Fever, cough, muscle or body aches, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headache and fatigue. Gastrointestinal symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea are less common except in children. It is advised to seek medical attention if a person has shortness of breath, an altered mental state, or a fever.” prolonged or excessively long.

Dr. Pinto García adds, “Common flu symptoms include a fever that lasts 3-4 days, severe body aches, chills, fatigue, chest congestion, and headache. Symptoms tend to come on quickly and feel more severe than a cold. Children can also suffer, especially In particular, from nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.

In general, the flu can be treated by staying home, resting, and drinking plenty of fluids. But medical attention may be needed if the patient develops any severe signs such as difficulty breathing, fever or cough.

The article is in Arabic

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