Author: Sabine Strobl
Soon, influenza viruses will be circulating again. It is difficult: you do not know in which order and composition they appear and how much they differ from the previous year. Because current vaccination is always based on the experience of the previous year, speculation always takes part in their development. Influenzagruppe B strains are particularly difficult to assess.
"It is difficult to predict which specific strains of influenza B will appear in one year." The A flu group has always been the same strain, H3N2 and H1N1, in recent years, but their frequency was different, "explains Günter Weiss, director of the Department of Internal Medicine, II Innsbruck.
Sometimes the virus changes minimally so that the virological memory can identify the virus and fight it. Sometimes the virus changes more and the immune response is worse. Weiss: "The problem with the vaccine is that it's lagging behind the year."
Vaccination is further limited by age-related effects. "In children, we have a 90% percentage of vaccinations, in the elderly about 30%," explains Weiss. The good news: if people get sick despite vaccinations, the flu is less severe.
Who should be immunized against influenza? The expert recommends vaccinations for chronically ill and elderly people. It is important that also severely and chronically ill people are vaccinated. Weiss: "We're trying to build a certain herd's resistance around these people." Also, people in medical professions regularly suggest vaccination. Here you decide to protect yourself, your family and foster.
Finally, parents repeatedly ask if they should vaccinate their child against influenza. Children who suffer from a chronic illness, such as Asthma, advise Weiss to get vaccinated. Otherwise, you should consider the advantages and disadvantages. For example, the flu in children can sometimes be severe. Or parents can not accept that their child needs two weeks of care at home. "You have to offer parents a talk about risks and benefits," said the expert.
Influenza viruses will be re-transmitted from December to April. Influenza is still a serious disease. Where the onset of the disease usually starts suddenly from a bad mood, with pain in the joints and muscles and sometimes coughing. It's chills and high fever, up to 40 degrees. In contrast, the thermometer increases in flu infection by 37 to 37.5 degrees, this infection is accompanied by a runny nose, fatigue, sore throat and headache. Every year, about five to ten percent of the population in Tyrol suffers from severe influenza.
Influenza diseases in this country almost do not diminish. "To achieve effective protection, the average injection rate would have to be 80 percent, currently we have between 10 and 15 percent." For people who are more likely to get flu or die, a higher rate of vaccination coverage will be more important, "Weiss concludes. Therefore, he needs movement in all layers of the population.
The development of science is also exciting. As Weiss points out, there is a lot of research into "how often you can get influenza in your life or if you have permanent immunity." And you want to know how often you should get vaccinated every year or every other year? "Though it's common disease, there are still many unknowns.
Key word …
… repel pathogens
Protection against viruses and companies is washing your hands several times a day. Sport in moderation (do not overdo it) and a balanced diet also arm yourself in the winter. No smoking protects the mucous membranes in the throat.
… thousands of patients with influenza
Every year, at our latitudes, five to ten percent of the population is infected with flu during the cold season. Over 100 people are hospitalized every season at the Innsbruck Clinic due to severe influenza.
… an influenza epidemic during the holidays
Influenza waves occur from December to April. Possible cause: On cold days people are more susceptible to this and like to move together. In the tropics, flu occurs throughout the year, in the southern hemisphere in our summer months.
When you sneeze, the drops responsible for the infection spread within a radius of one to two meters. Pathogens are also transmitted through conversation, hawking and touching the door handles.
… influenza compared
It is believed that a patient with influenza infects three to five others. For measles z. B. the frequency of infection is higher. Here, it is expected that the patient infects 13-20 other people.