OVERVIEW: The Czech Republic in the grip of a flu epidemic. How to distinguish symptoms from covid?

OVERVIEW: The Czech Republic in the grip of a flu epidemic. How to distinguish symptoms from covid?
OVERVIEW: The Czech Republic in the grip of a flu epidemic. How to distinguish symptoms from covid?
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Hygienists across the Czech Republic report a significant increase in flu and respiratory diseases. The number of infected people has already exceeded the epidemic threshold, so some hospitals are limiting visits to inpatient wards. In addition to the mentioned flu, however, people should also beware of covid. How to distinguish individual diseases from each other and what can you do to protect your health? The editors of CNN Prima NEWS have prepared a simple overview of everything important for you.

According to information from hygienists, the influenza virus type A is spreading the most in the Czech Republic, followed by RS viruses to an increased extent. However, we cannot forget covid, which is not so widespread, but has not disappeared anywhere.

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“In the fourth calendar week, acute respiratory infections in the Czech Republic reached the level of 1,750 patients per 100,000 people, which is an increase of 22.2 percent compared to the previous week. The increase is recorded in all regions and in all age groups,” Jan Kynčl, head of the Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases Department of the State Health Institute (SZÚ), said in a press release.

Epidemiologist and former Minister of Health Roman Prymula commented on the flu epidemic on the CNN Prima NEWS broadcast. According to him, the beginning of the spring holidays can help reduce the number of infected people.

“Influenza is classically spread in young age groups, in children of preschool and school age. They pass the disease on to families, and younger adults and seniors become infected. This is a classic cycle. Thanks to the holidays, this mechanism is interrupted, but once the holidays are over, it will return. We can expect the course of the entire epidemic within six weeks,” announced Prymula.

Flu

The symptoms of the flu are similar to those of the coronavirus. Diseases can often be easily confused. Among the main symptoms of the flu, which manifests itself with a sudden onset, are: dry irritating cough, headache, neck, joint and muscle pain, general fatigue, weakness and exhaustion. Often, people also struggle with high temperature, chills, shortness of breath and runny nose.

“The illness usually lasts four to seven days in uncomplicated cases and spontaneously ends with recovery after a short recovery,” said experts from the SZÚ.

Elderly, debilitated or chronically ill people, however, may experience complications, such as pneumonia or inflammation of the heart muscle, which may threaten the patient’s life. In children, inflammation of the middle ear or secondary nasal cavities can occur.

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“This is a relatively serious infection that causes illness in hundreds of thousands to one million inhabitants in the Czech Republic every year, and is associated with an average of almost two thousand deaths,” the experts informed.

As experts from SZÚ emphasize, the best vaccination is the protection against influenza. “Vaccination helps reduce the number of patients and deaths associated with the annual flu epidemic. The effectiveness of an influenza vaccine depends on the antigenic similarity of the virus strain in the vaccine to currently circulating viruses,” they explained.

Vaccination alone may not prevent the disease, but it will reduce the severity of the infection and reduce the percentage of complications and death. “Annual flu vaccination is recommended especially for the elderly (65 years and older) and people of any age (including children) with a chronic illness,” they added.

Important preventive measures include: healthy lifestyle (active movement, no smoking, strengthening, sauna, sufficient rest and sleep, sufficient supply of vitamins, etc.) or hygiene measures (frequent and correct hand washing, regular ventilation of rooms, use of disposable handkerchiefs and towels).

For disease prevention, Prymula recommended a general strengthening of the immune system by consuming fresh fruits and vegetables and increasing physical resistance. “It turns out that the flu especially kills people who don’t have enough reserve capacity, especially the lungs,” the epidemiologist added.

Treatment is often complicated, because the flu aggravates already ongoing diseases of the heart and blood vessels, lungs, kidneys, diabetes or other chronic diseases. “People with severe flu can be treated with special anti-viral drugs, antivirals, but not antibioticswhich are intended for the treatment of bacterial infections,” the experts emphasize.

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In mild and moderate cases – covid and flu – home symptomatic treatment aimed at alleviating the symptoms of the disease is possible. Experts recommend equipping yourself with basic preparations from the pharmacy as a precaution for coughs, colds, headaches, temperature reduction and others, which will allow the body to deal with the virus more easily. Rest mode, warmth, sleep and plenty of fluids are self-evident. However, hospitalization is often necessary for people with a serious course.

Covid

According to the Ministry of Health, the main symptoms of the disease include increased temperature or fever, cough, difficulty breathing, pain in the throat, head, back, muscles or joints, loss of smell and taste, tiredness, diarrhea, nausea and runny nose. So-called “covid fingers” (red and swollen) may occur in children. According to the UK Office for National Statistics’ winter coronavirus report, people infected with the latest variant of the virus also reported sleep problems and anxiety.

However, there are also cases of the so-called asymptomatic course of the disease. “In such cases, people show no clinical symptoms and only testing will prove the presence of the virus. However, these persons can be infectious and infect others,” warns the Czech Ministry of Health.

One of the options for prevention is vaccination, which mainly prevents the serious course of the disease. Next, the 3R rule, i.e. hands, masks and distances. A varied diet and a healthy lifestyle are also important.

Prymula also called for vaccination. “We still have a huge pool of unvaccinated individuals. Many people do not have a fourth or fifth booster dose. It can play a role in the elderly and the course can be worse than it should be,” the epidemiologist pointed out. “Vaccination reduces the risk of disease, especially its severe course, complications and death. In particular, people belonging to risk groups should not hesitate to get vaccinated,” emphasized Daniel Dražan, pediatrician and member of the committee of the Czech Vaccinology Society.

Patients belonging to groups with an increased risk of a serious course of the disease can be prescribed by doctors antiviral treatment that is approved for covid and reduces the risk of complications.

In mild and moderate cases – covid and flu – home symptomatic treatment aimed at alleviating the symptoms of the disease is possible. Experts recommend equipping yourself with basic preparations from the pharmacy as a precaution for coughs, colds, headaches, temperature reduction and others, which will allow the body to deal with the virus more easily. Rest mode, warmth, sleep and plenty of fluids are self-evident. However, hospitalization is often necessary for people with a serious course.

The symptoms of the mentioned diseases are often so similar that it is very difficult to distinguish them from each other. “On an individual basis, it’s very difficult. Only a test can definitively tell the difference. I do not recommend speculating on the level of self-diagnosis with an individual, we are not able to find out,” added Prymula.


The article is in Czech

Tags: OVERVIEW Czech Republic grip flu epidemic distinguish symptoms covid

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