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Flu (influenza)

What is flu?

The real flu, also called influenza, is an acute respiratory disease. It is a serious, sometimes life-threatening illness caused by flu viruses. Colds or “flu infections,” on the other hand, are caused by other pathogens. In Germany, flu waves occur in the winter months after the turn of the year with varying levels of spread and severity. Influenza viruses are constantly changing and often form new variants. These changes can make you more likely to become infected with the flu and become ill over the course of your life. That's why the influenza vaccine is adjusted almost every year.

Our Avi Medical practices are also offering the current influenza vaccinations this fall. Further information can be found here.

How are flu or influenza viruses transmitted?

From person to person
The flu is very contagious. When sneezing, coughing or speaking, the smallest, virus-containing droplets of the nasopharyngeal secretion of sick people enter the air and can be inhaled by other people nearby.

The viruses are also passed on through the hands have come into contact with virus-containing secretions. If you then touch your mouth, nose or eyes, the flu viruses can penetrate the body through the mucous membranes.

About contaminated objects
The pathogens can also stick to door handles, grab handles, stair railings or similar objects and from there be passed on to the hands.

What are the symptoms of flu? Sick people?

Around a third of all illnesses typically begin with a sudden feeling of illness, fever, sore throat and dry cough, accompanied by muscle pain, limb pain, back pain or headache. Particularly in older people, the signs of illness are often not as pronounced and are more similar to a cold. If the course is uncomplicated, the symptoms will subside after 5 to 7 days. However, the cough can last significantly longer.

The severity of the illness can vary. A flu infection can occur with mild or no symptoms at all. However, the flu can also be accompanied by severe illnesses, which in the worst case scenario can lead to death.

Pneumonia is feared as the most common complication. Middle ear infections can also develop in children. Rarely, inflammation of the brain or heart muscle can occur.

When does the disease break out and how long are you contagious?

After an infection, you will feel the first symptoms relatively quickly after 1 to 2 days. The sick can be contagious the day before the symptoms begin and up to about 1 week after the first signs of illness appear. Children or people with weakened immune systems can also excrete the pathogens for longer.