According to the Federation of General Practitioners (Fimmg) «the flu epidemic curve has risen in such a way as to predict, if the trend remains at these levels, the highest peak in the last 15 years. And it could be reached before Christmas because the values have grown a lot ».
The most sensitive people are the very young, aged 4 years or younger, and the elderly, aged 85 years or older. Fortunately today it does not seem to be particularly aggressive in terms of possible complications and the key symptoms of the 2022-2023 flu are the same as in past seasons: high fever that appears suddenly, at least one respiratory symptom (cough, sore throat, stuffy nose, … ), at least one systemic symptom (feeling of broken bones, muscle aches, headache) .
Symptoms that generally tend to fade within 5-7 days at most (slightly more in children), while asthenia and cough can last much longer. The incubation time, i.e. the period between infection and the first manifestations, varies from one to four days.
The best way to prevent infection remains the flu vaccine, which however does not protect against the numerous para-flu viruses, responsible for the numerous cold syndromes that occur during the winter. In Italy it is free for population groups considered at risk, for example: people aged 65 or over, patients at risk for health reasons (for example for chronic diseases such as diabetes, immune, cardiovascular, respiratory diseases, …), operators healthcare professionals in direct contact with patients at higher risk of acquiring/transmitting infection, pregnant women (regardless of trimester). It is also recommended for children aged 6 months and older.
“This year’s flu vaccine appears to be a ‘best match’ to circulating strains,” said Rochelle Walensky, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And while we know that flu shots aren’t perfect in terms of preventing infection, they are effective at preventing serious infections. Not only. Getting vaccinated can also shorten the time you are sick, and a shorter, less severe flu gives vaccinated people an edge against the virus. Also because the flu is not only a respiratory ailment, but can exacerbate existing medical conditions such as heart disease. A 2018 study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that the risk of having a heart attack was six times higher within a week of the flu.