With the colder weather, the cases of flu and colds increased. While experts were warning citizens against the flu epidemic; how to make the distinction between the COVID-19 cases and flu cases is questioned.
Stating that flu cases were rarely encountered in the world and in 2020 due to the restrictions imposed in the pandemic period, Prof. Dr. Füsun Eyüpoğlu, the Working Group Head of the Turkish Thoracic Society Respiratory System Infections stated that the susceptibility to influenza infection will increase in people in risk groups and the clinic of the disease may progress more severely, and noted: “Pneumonia, respiratory failure, neurological and cardiac complications may progress and cause death.”
Prof. Dr. Eyüboğlu also listed the individuals in the risk group as follows:
“Children under the age of 5 (especially between the ages of 6 months and 2 years) and adults over the age of 65, pregnant women, especially those who will spend the last three months of the pregnancy between October and May, are the most risky group. People who are immunocompromised, those with underlying heart, kidney, lung, nervous system diseases, obese people, those with metabolic diseases such as diabetes, those under the age of 18 who have to use aspirin continuously, individuals and healthcare professionals having close contact with the above risk groups are at high risk too.”
“DO NOT Mistake with COVID-19”
Prof. Dr. Oya İtil, the President of Turkish Thoracic Society also gave information on how to distinguish flu from COVID-19. Noting that flu symptoms are very similar to coronavirus, İtil said:
“ Sudden onset fever, cough or sore throat are the most typical findings. Muscle pain, malaise and headache, respiratory distress may also accompany. These symptoms are similar to COVID-19 and other viral respiratory infections. Influenza virus is transmitted from person to person through droplets spread through coughing and sneezing. The disease spreads more rapidly in preschool and school age children. With the opening of schools, an increase in the rate of spread of influenza infection is expected in the coming period. Infectiousness begins 24 hours before symptoms begin, and continues for the next 5-7 days. Usually, the clinical symptoms of the flu resolve completely within 1-2 weeks.
FLU VACCINE RECOMMENDATION
Gürkan Kılıçgil, the President of Edirne Chamber of Pharmacists, urged citizens over 65 years of age and those with chronic diseases to get the flu vaccine. Kılıçgil stated that the flu vaccine reduces hospitalizations and plays an important role in the eases the symptoms.
Mentioning that there was a decrease in seasonal flu (influenza) cases last year due to the measures taken against the epidemic, Kılıçgil noted that an increase in flu cases is expected this year with the start of face-to-face education and the relaxation of measures. Kılıçgil stated that flu vaccines are made between September and December every year, and said:
“Influenza vaccines for people who have cardiovascular diseases including hypertension, lung diseases, asthma and COPD, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, use immunosuppressive drugs, citizens over the age of 65 will be covered by the SSI (Social Security Institution). They need to document these conditions with a report. It is very important that our citizens over the age of 65 or those with chronic diseases have flu vaccines. I invite all our citizens to be vaccinated in order to reduce hospitalizations, to ease the symptoms and maybe not to even catch the flu in the first place.”