Flu: The flu wave spreads to the east

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Flu wave in Germany: first death in 2013 due to influenza

The seasonal flu is currently spreading in Germany. According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the federal states in the east are particularly affected by a real flu wave. In addition, there should also be a stronger presence in North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate. The first deaths from the flu had already occurred in the state of Saxony and the capital Berlin.

Not every runny nose or cough is flu. "If the beginning is fast and violent, for example complaining of headaches, body aches, chills and high fever, there can be a definite flu," says the naturopath Tobias Schmidt. Flu as such also heals again. If patients are weakened in advance due to their age or a chronic illness, it can be dangerous. It is usually not the viruses themselves that are dangerous, but the secondary bacterial infections that follow during or after the viral infectious disease. Subsequent pneumonia, for example, is not uncommon.

Flu wave in medical practices The influenza viruses are currently causing mischief across Germany. "Very increased influenza and cold activities," reports the Robert Koch Institute in Berlin. Doctors also blog on the Internet and report on their everyday practice. So “kinderdoc” blogger wrote “The day is full of flu. Hardly a child who has anything else. "It is not foreseeable when the" peak of this year's flu wave will be exceeded ", reported the RKI spokeswoman Silke Buda. The RKI alone has had 14,941 cases of flu reported since autumn 2012. According to laboratory diagnostics, 17 people in Germany have already died of this year's influenza.

The RKI weekly report primarily shows that the eastern German states, parts of North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate are severely affected by the flu. According to the RKI expert, the increase "was, however, slightly delayed". Medical consultations and the number of respiratory diseases have increased. "Only three waves of colds in the past ten years saw more visits to the doctor due to respiratory infections." In the past week alone, 2958 influenza-related flu cases were reported to the RKI. "The number of patient cases can increase significantly through late registrations."

Deaths in Berlin and Saxony At present, the risk of death from flu is generally not very high. According to the RKI, however, there was the first flu death of the year in Berlin. People with serious previous illnesses are particularly at risk because the flu massively weakens the body. So also in the Berlin case, as Regina Kneiding from the Senate Department for Health confirms. "The man from Neukölln had a previous illness on his heart and was one of the so-called high-risk patients." The influenza viruses were clearly confirmed in the laboratory. Kneiding could not tell how old the deceased was during a press conference. "The flu wave is very pronounced this season," said the spokeswoman for the "Berliner Morgenpost." Panic was still no reason. According to the Senate for Health, "there is no special drama".

In the past year, nobody died of the flu in Berlin. In 2011, however, there were four and, in 2010, seven people who died of the consequences of the flu and or the previous illness. According to Kneiding, the "flu protection" is working well this year. "Anyone who is vaccinated is on the safe side," said the spokeswoman. A 72-year-old man died in the northern part of Saxony from the consequences of the flu. As a result, the victim developed pneumonia, which he succumbed to. The man was at an advanced age, but according to the Saxon Ministry of Health in Dresden "did not suffer from previous illnesses". According to a ministry spokesman, "the flu wave is still at a high level". However, the rate of new cases fell slightly due to the winter holidays by 17 percent. Nevertheless, "there is still no talk of the situation easing".

Complications in 12 percent of flu cases
Since October last year, the health authorities of the Free State of Saxony registered 3841 patient cases. Swine flu is still dominant, with 1,367 infections to date. Adults between the ages of 25 and 65 and children up to six years are most affected. In 12 percent of all flu cases there are complications and severe courses, in which patients have to be ventilated, for example.

It is important to strengthen your immune system and pay attention to a balanced diet. Then the body with its defenses is well prepared to defeat the flu viruses. According to medical experts, older patients or chronically ill people should also consider vaccination. However, this is only effective if it was set in good time before the wave broke out. (sb)

Also read:
Self-treatment flu & colds
Flu: Risk groups should be vaccinated
Home remedies for cough

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