Next flu season expected to be of medium intensity, with estimated cases between 5-6 million
According to virologist and researcher Fabrizio Pregliasco from the University of Milan, the upcoming flu season is predicted to be of medium intensity, with an estimated number of cases ranging between 5-6 million. Pregliasco made this statement during the event “2022-2023 influenza season: what to know and what to do,” organized by Assosalute, a branch of Federchimica.
In addition to cases linked to the H1N1 variant, Pregliasco also expects around ten million cases of other flu viruses, referred to as “cousin” flu viruses, which can cause similar symptoms. The spread of influenza will depend on various factors, including the viral strains in circulation, their novelty and variation compared to previous years, as well as weather and climate conditions. Therefore, Pregliasco emphasizes the importance of promoting vaccination and hygiene measures.
Next autumn-winter is expected to see the co-presence of influenza and SARS-CoV-2, making the management of healthcare resources more complex due to the similarities in symptoms. A research conducted by Human Highway and presented at Assosalute reveals that more than 6 out of 10 Italians are aware of the persistence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and its new variants. Concern about this runs higher among women than men.
Pregliasco highlights that vaccination is not only a protection for oneself but also for those who are more vulnerable, such as children, the elderly, or people with pre-existing health problems. While young people have the choice to get vaccinated, frail and elderly individuals should consider it a necessity due to the risk of serious complications from infection. The intention to get vaccinated against the flu remains high, with 33% of Italians planning to do so next season, particularly among the over-65s at a rate of 56.5%.
When someone falls ill, the role of the general practitioner remains crucial, especially among men, with 22% seeking their help compared to 17% among women. Self-medication drugs are reported as the most common solution for flu symptoms, with 60% of the population claiming to use them in case of flu in 2023.
As the next flu season approaches, it is vital to prioritize vaccination and adhere to hygiene measures to minimize the spread of the flu, particularly in the context of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.