Sneezing, coughing e fever they seem to give no more respite. With the summer season now over, Italians find themselves dealing with the usual dilemma: it is about Covid or the flu virus? The doubt, in reality, is legitimate given that this year there will be a double infection waiting for us at the gate. If during the pandemicil lockdown and the appropriate use of security measures have averted, or at least reduced, the spread of the flu virus, the next few months could prove to be really complicated.
Influenza, Andreoni: “Every year between 5 and 15 thousand deaths, let’s get vaccinated.” The anti-pandemic council is in place
“The data coming from the southern hemisphere – he explains Massimo Andreonidirector of infectious diseases of the Tor Vergata Polyclinic of Rome and scientific director of the Italian Society of Infectious and Tropical Diseases – indicate that we will probably have a season with an important circulation of the flu virus. We have already had the first signs in Italy as well ”.
Cases of “Australian” flu virus
At the children’s hospital Baby Jesus in fact, the first cases of contagion from “Australian” flu virus. These are 16 children who went to the hospital emergency room from the end of June to today for problems with the respiratory system. What worries the experts, however, is the fact that the potential aggressiveness of the virus, especially in fragile and immunocompromised individuals, does not correspond to adequate public health strategies to prevent the infection from causing serious damage.
The lockdown factor
“In the last two seasons – recalls Andreoni – thanks to the lockdown and containment measures of the sars cov 2, the flu virus has circulated little. This means that today the spread of the virus finds a population that is immunologically less prepared, that is, it has fewer antibodies ”. And it can therefore run into a serious illness. Not to mention that the vaccination campaign, after the pandemic emergency, is no longer considered a priority.
The risks of non-vaccination
“A further element of concern – continues the infectious disease specialist – is linked to the fact that while in the last two years there has been a great deal of participation in the flu vaccination, this year there will probably be less attention. This is also because there is a certain fatigue in the prophylaxis; moreover, in the previous two years having a flu syndrome could mean having to go to the emergency room for fear of covid. Currently this fear is less widespread ”. Basically, to avoid the risk of a double infection or even simply to rule out that the fever was due to the flu, many have decided to undergo the flu vaccination. Now, however, with the pandemic still underway and with the spread of the flu virus earlier than in other years, the situation can get out of hand.
The winter of two viruses
“The risk is that there will be a great circulation of the flu virus – warns Andreoni – And there is no need to rest assured. We recall that the flu leads from 5 thousand to 15 thousand deaths in the Italian population every year. It is not essentially a trivial disease. The advice is therefore to undergo the influenza and anticovid vaccination, in the same session. The recommendation is valid for all age groups, but more stringently for high risk subjects, that is the over 60s and the fragile categories “. But given that the timing of the start of the influenza vaccination campaign varies from region to region, it is essential to continue to use the precautionary measures already known. “We must take into account that we will have a winter in which the two viruses will circulate – remarks Andreoni – resulting in a large number of cases for the two diseases. Let’s not forget that covid continues to cause deaths, it is not a trivial disease if you are not vaccinated. For this reason, it is important to use containment measures, albeit no longer mandatory, starting with the masks, both in hospitals and on public transport. And then it is always necessary to disinfect your hands when you return home. These are public health behaviors, essential to avoid the spread of the virus and to avert the risk of fragile people falling ill and ending up in hospital “.