Is swine flu a cause for panic?

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Is swine flu a cause for panic and should people get vaccinated?

Media reports almost every day about new deaths due to swine flu. From this fact alone, many people wonder whether they could also be affected and possibly die from the consequences of an H1N1 infection. In this article we want to give differentiated answers.

Last year and the year before last, the WHO announced a pandemic warning level due to the then new H1N1 pathogen type. The topic was processed accordingly in the media landscape, on television you could see people wearing respirators due to the expected swine flu wave. Many shied away from gathering people and avoided maintaining physical contact with others. The WHO and the national states had drawn up numerous pandemic plans, and the governments called on the population to be mass vaccinated.

But the big wave of deadly swine flu almost failed to materialize. Indeed, only a few people died of swine flu, even less than the "normal" seasonal flu. After it became known that the pharmaceutical industry had top executives in the WHO control centers, hardly anyone believed that a deadly swine flu wave actually affected humanity. Even then, “” was sometimes the first source of health news to draw attention to the facts about swine flu in order to send a signal against the scaremongering. Later, more and more specialists and medical professionals had to admit that the expected pandemic did not materialize and that the flu infections in patients were comparatively mild in most cases.

Now, in times of the seasonal flu, the topic is again stylized as a top topic in all known media. Every day, people get new horror news about new deaths. In this context, health authorities point out that it is now time to vaccinate again. Because the H1N1 virus has displaced almost all other flu agents. So let's talk about the facts about swine flu again.

Swine flu threatens this year? Every winter people experience a flu wave. The flu starts on time again this year, but so far it has been relatively mild. In most cases, people who have been infected so far suffer from the "normal" flu symptoms such as fever, body aches and runny nose. Although about two thirds of the influenza A viruses are of the H1N1 type, the usual symptoms have not worsened compared to the previous flu epidemics. Experts from the Robert Koch Institute cannot yet predict how many people will get the current flu. The end of the school holidays was mentioned as the starting point of the epidemic. Because especially children and adolescents with a lot of social contacts are the main carriers of the flu virus. So far, however, there has been no real "wave".

Flu vaccination The Federal Ministry of Health and the Robert Koch Institute are currently calling for flu vaccination. Especially high-risk patients and, for the first time, pregnant women should be vaccinated. Risk groups include, for example, people who have a weakened immune system due to a chronic illness. The current flu vaccine is made up of three components. Protection should apply to H3N2, influenza B and H1N1 pathogens. This combination of three protective combinations is by no means new. The flu protection is always based on the currently rampant fours. What is new is that the H1N1 pathogen type has now been included in the regular vaccination.

Is it possible to get swine flu twice? A new study indicates that there is immune protection if you have been infected with the swine flu virus before. In a study, US scientists found that patients who had previously been infected with the H1N1 pathogen often formed special antibodies, which led to the formation of "exceptional immune protection" against numerous strains of influenza. Protection was favored by a variety of antibodies, which formed the special, different structure of the H1N1 virus. According to the researchers, the swine flu virus is only identical to other influenza pathogens in those parts that are essential for the functioning of the virus. Nevertheless, the Robert Koch Institute advises to be vaccinated even if you have survived the flu. This applies above all to so-called risk groups.

Vaccinate yes or no This question cannot be answered with a simple "yes" or "no". Because it always depends on the physical integrity of the individual. Vaccination provides protection against flu for about half a year. With a few exceptions (less than five percent), flu can still occur. However, vaccination does not protect against influenza infections with other viruses. If the protection has passed, you have to be vaccinated again.

It should be noted that the pharmaceutical industry has an increased interest in getting people vaccinated. Large-scale PR campaigns continuously point out the importance of vaccination. Because the sale of vaccines also boosts sales. For this reason, it is sometimes difficult to distinguish actual news from PR reports from pharmaceutical manufacturers.

But even official health authorities are somewhat reluctant and factual in their statements, unlike last year. The vaccination is especially recommended for chronically ill people of all ages, pregnant women and people who come into contact with people a lot due to their professional field. This includes, for example, doctors and medical staff. This year the "urgent vaccination recommendation" was also extended to young people. In some cases, it has been observed that infected young people have a severe course of the disease. However, almost all patients also had previous illnesses. It is not yet clear why this is so. Such deviations in the seasonal flu wave have already been observed in other flu pandemics.

Did the swine flu virus mutate?
Since the vaccine is the same as a year ago, it can be assumed that the virus has changed only slightly. The dangerous mutation predicted at the time by mixing with other fours has so far largely failed to materialize.

Alternative protection against flu infections
Regular hand washing is a very simple but effective protection. The hands should always be washed before eating or returning home. Simply washing your hands alone does not replace effective vaccination. Numerous providers of homeopathic remedies that offer "alternative protection" are on the net. However, such means are not recommended as "substitute protection" by associations such as the Central Association of Homeopathic Doctors and are also considered to be dubious among naturopaths. However, there are numerous homeopathic remedies (homeopathy for flu diseases) that can be used in the course of flu to relieve the symptoms. (sb)

Also read:
Woman died of swine flu infection
Immune to flu after swine flu infection?
Flu: Risk groups should be vaccinated
Swine flu is transmitted from children
Swine flu: number of new infections increases
Swine flu is back: RKI recommends vaccination
Swine flu is no reason to panic

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