Why are doctors warning about the severity of this year’s flu?

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

In addition to the importance of getting a flu shot, experts advise taking safety precautions to stay healthy, as Anna Van Tuyl, director of the intensive care unit of emergency medicine at Staten Island University Hospital, says, “It’s important to take preventative measures such as wearing masks, washing hands often and staying at home when a person is sick.

more deadly this year

“It’s hard to say that the flu is more prevalent this year than in recent years when cases were at historic lows, partly due to global Covid restrictions,” explains Professor Charles Bailey, medical director of the hospital in California. “Could be a result of less exposure to the flu.” usual” in recent years for the same reason, [وهو الإجراءات الاحترازية لكوفيد]In general, flu immunity is weaker than in a typical year because a large portion of the population has been exposed to the flu recently.”

“As we enter the 2022-2023 winter season, fewer people are wearing face masks and people are gathering in person again,” says Dr. Patricia Pinto Garcia, an American pediatrician. “As a result, the world could see an increase not only in flu, but also in cases of Covid.” -19 and RSV, so it’s important that everyone get the flu and COVID-19 vaccine to better protect themselves from 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 the flu. Flu symptoms vary from person to person. Some people may experience very mild symptoms, while others may become very ill, with symptoms progressing to pneumonia or sepsis. Vulnerability to severe flu and complications depend on several factors, including age, as those over 65 and those under 2 are more likely to develop complications, and pregnancy is another risk factor. “If a woman is pregnant, her the immune system is usually weaker, so there is a greater chance of getting sick. Getting a flu shot during pregnancy is important for that extra layer of protection.”

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

Influenza vaccines and strains

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

“Influenza is actually several strains of the same virus,” says Dr. Pinto García. “Dominant strains vary from year to year. Scientists have to predict which strain is likely to dominate each year, and the vaccine is made based on trajectories from previous years.. If the trajectories are wrong (which is bound to happen because viruses are constantly changing), the flu vaccine may be more or less effective from year to year.”

The importance of vaccination

This also means that a person’s immunity against the flu does not last long, as there is no protection from year to year. So both of those things mean that the virus is still circulating in the population. Add to that the fact that many people choose not to get the flu vaccine and then there will always be a situation where the virus can still easily pass through the community. But it is important for a person to keep in mind that even if the flu vaccine is not 100% effective against the flu, it can prevent a serious illness from getting worse. In other words, people who have been vaccinated and become infected with the flu may suffer less and usually recover more quickly than people who have not received the vaccine.



time of infection

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

The reason for the increase in flu patients

“Influenza is most common during the winter months and spreads through droplets or aerosols,” says Dr. Pinto García. “Transmission of the virus between two people can occur when someone coughs, rains or talks. In the last few months, there have been precautions that limit gatherings in public places.” “Enclosed spaces and general wearing of masks to protect against COVID-19. As these restrictions begin to be lifted and people return to normal activities, the virus will spread more easily among groups. Therefore, there is likely to be an increase in the number of flu 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, altered mental condition or fever.” prolonged or excessively long.

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

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 serious symptoms such as shortness of breath, fever or cough.

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