The flu is a contagious disease that produces respiratory symptoms and is caused by viruses, so it cannot be prevented or cured with antibiotics, constituting an important public health problem.
The annual seasonal epidemics of influenza are associated with a high rate of hospitalizations and mortality, as well as a considerable demand for health resources. The control measure considered most effective against the flu is the annual vaccination of certain population groups considered high risk of suffering complications associated with it.
The influenza virus can be of different varieties and the main strains, which usually affect people, are: type A, type B and type C.
During the winter season that began in 2017 and will end in 2018, the Flu Surveillance System in Spain explains that some subtypes of the virus strain B are predominant to date and the flu vaccine is usually more effective against this type of virus. However, the incidence of the disease has touched its peak with almost 300 cases per 100,000 inhabitants and this year’s vaccine was especially ineffective, given that there is a second strain of the virus not anticipated in the vaccine.
Many media say that this season the flu epidemic has been the most lethal in recent years. 85% of the deaths were people over 64 years who were not vaccinated or who had risk factors such as lung diseases and cardiovascular diseases.
Has the strain of this season failed and that is why there have been so many deaths?
The SeMicyuc (Spanish Society of Intensive Medicine, critical and coronary units), affirms that the main cause of the incidence of the flu is being greater than other years because this type of virus is not the one that circulated previously.
Experts say that the influenza virus is not deadly, but the pathologies that patients present, which can be decompensated by the flu and cause death.
In this sense, the World Health Organization (WHO), states that it is very important an adequate surveillance that allows early identification and characterization of circulating flu viruses and assess their diffusion capacity in the population. Due to the flu virus’s high capacity to undergo antigenic variations, the composition of vaccines should be reviewed every year to ensure that they conform to the antigenic properties of circulating viruses
Should we go to the hospital if we catch the flu?
At Vithas Xanit International Hospital we advise that if you suffer major symptoms similar to pneumonia yes, you should go to the Hospital, but for the typical symptoms of a flu, it is best to take paracetamol, take antitussive syrups if you cough and drink a lot of fluids.
If you notice that you have symptoms of the flu you can make an appointment at this link and our doctors will make a thorough review.
WHO European Office