The viruses come back

The viruses come back

Kitzingen county the waiting rooms in family doctors’ offices are full, the wave of colds is rolling over germany. The robert koch institute reports a particularly high rate of respiratory illnesses for this time of year. The "real flu" (influneza) is also expected to rise compared to the previous year. What this development has to do with corona and who should think about a flu vaccination now, explains senior physician dr. Stefanie held from the kitzinger land clinic.

Question: distance rules and mandatory masks: have these corona decreases weakened our immune system??

Stefanie held: weakened is the wrong word, but in fact we are currently observing a kind of catch-up effect. After a year and a half without any significant infections, the viruses are now coming through again. This can be seen, for example, in the significantly higher number of seasonal sickness reports than in the previous year.

Have we become more susceptible to these viruses??

Held: no, respiratory infections tend to be more common during the fall/winter months. Rather, there have been remarkably fewer viral infections since the introduction of the distance rules and, in particular, the mouth-nose protection in the context of the corona pandemic.

How to reduce the risk of infections?

Held: a healthy lifestyle is essential. Exercise in the fresh air, airing out, eating a healthy diet: all this strengthens our immune system. It also helps to adopt some behaviors from the corona era.


Held: keep your distance, for example when shopping at the supermarket. Don’t touch your face so often. And most important: regular hand hygiene. All this can protect us from viruses.

Should we therefore continue to wear a mask?

Held: the mouth-nose protection effectively protects against the transmission of viral pathogens. At the moment, it continues to make sense in many areas of public life due to the still uncertain corona situation, but is indispensable in sensitive areas such as nursing, retirement homes and hospitals for the time being. In some cultures, mouth and nose protection are part of public life. I don’t think that this will be the case for us in the long term.

Will we also accept other behaviors in the long run?? A handshake has been pont in many asian countries.

Hero: it would actually be better for our health if we no longer buried ourselves with a handshake. But we mustn’t forget in all this that it’s also about our psychological well-being. And that’s why social contacts and closeness are so important.

Last year, more germans than ever before loved being vaccinated against the flu. What does it look like this year?

Held: hard to say, the season is just getting started. Typically, we central europeans contract the flu between the end of january and the beginning of march. The ideal time for a vaccination has therefore now come.

Why so early?

Held: because it takes 10 to 14 days for immunity to build up. You can still get vaccinated in january, but the risk of getting infected is naturally higher then. By christmas at the latest, everyone who belongs to the risk group should be vaccinated.

Who falls under this category?

Held: flu vaccination recommended for people over 60. Younger chronically ill people should also get vaccinated. The vaccination commission also explicitly recommends vaccination for pregnant women


Held: because a severe course of the flu is disproportionately possible in pregnant women. Different, by the way, from covid-19.

This means that if you are younger than 60 and healthy, you don’t have to worry about a flu shot?

Hero: as a young person, you can usually get through the flu just fine. But there are other groups for whom vaccination is recommended, regardless of age and concomitant diseases, for example, medical personnel, people who have contact with high-risk individuals or have professional contact with many people.

Is there enough vaccine for all interested parties??

Held: good question. Last year there was actually a bottleneck due to rough demand. At present, no major shortfalls are expected. The vaccine is produced every year anew. The situation is being monitored and analyzed worldwide. As early as march of each year, virologists agree on the composition of different vaccines.

At corona, there are known to be declared vaccine refusers. Is that similar with the flu shot?

Held: of course, here too there are hardliners who are fundamentally opposed to the idea and are not persuaded by arguments either.

One argument is that vaccination triggers flu symptoms in the first place.

Held: in fact, after a flu shot, you may feel tired and sluggish for a few days. But this is not a bad sign, on the contrary: the body deals with the viruses. A real flu illness brings with it much more severe symptoms.

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