According to the Federation of General Practitioners (Fimmg), the influenza epidemic curve has risen in a predictable manner, if the trend remains at these levels, the highest peak in the last 15 years. And it can be reached before Christmas because the values have grown so much.”
The most sensitive people are the very young, 4 years old or younger, and the very old, 85 years old or older. Fortunately today it does not seem particularly aggressive in terms of possible complications and the main symptoms of the 2022-2023 flu are the same as in past seasons: a rise in temperature that appears suddenly, at least one respiratory symptom (cough, sore throat, stuffy nose, . ..), at least one of the systemic symptoms (feeling of broken bones, muscle pain, headache).
Symptoms generally tend to resolve within 5-7 days at most (a little more often in children), while weakness and coughing can last longer. The incubation period, i.e. the period between infection and first appearance, varies from one to four days.
The best way to prevent infection is with the flu vaccine, which does not protect against the many influenza viruses responsible for many cold syndromes that occur during the winter. In Italy it is free for population groups considered to be at risk, for example: people aged 65 or over, patients at risk for health reasons (eg for chronic diseases such as diabetes, immunosuppression, cardiovascular diseases, systemic diseases respiratory, …), health care professional workers in direct contact with patients at higher risk of infection/transmission, and pregnant women (regardless of third trimester). Also recommended for children ages 6 months and up.
“This year’s flu vaccine appears to be the ‘best match’ for the strains circulating,” said Rochelle Walensky, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And while we know that flu vaccines are not perfect in terms of preventing infection, they are effective in preventing serious infections. Not only. Getting vaccinated can also shorten the time you get sick, and a shorter, less severe flu gives vaccinated people an advantage against the virus. Also because influenza is not only a respiratory illness, but it can exacerbate existing medical conditions like heart disease. A 2018 study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that the risk of a heart attack was six times higher within a week than with the flu.
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