Home Health What are the symptoms of seasonal flu 2022 and how to distinguish them from Covid

What are the symptoms of seasonal flu 2022 and how to distinguish them from Covid

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What are the symptoms of seasonal flu 2022 and how to distinguish them from Covid

How to tell if it is flu or Covid syndrome? And when is it advisable to swab? Here’s what you need to know with the arrival of the 2022-23 flu season and what vaccines are available in Italy.

With the ISS surveillance data that already estimate 557 thousand infections starting from the beginning of the 2022-23 flu season, especially among children under 5 years of age, many are wondering how to recognize if it is Covid-19 or seasonal flu. The latest update published on influencethe portal managed by the Istituto Superiore di Sanità (ISS), highlights a “sharp rise“Of the number of cases relating to flu and flu-like syndromes in the period between 24 and 30 October 2022 (week 43), with a total incidence of 4.8 cases per thousand assisted, which in the smallest is equal to 19.6 cases. Among the Regions that have activated the surveillance, the Influnet report specifies, Piedmont, Lombardy, Emilia-Romagna, Tuscany, Umbria, Marche and Sicily record an incidence level above the basal threshold. Five other Regions (PA of Bolzano, Veneto, Campania, Calabria, Sardinia) have not yet activated InfluNet surveillance.

“The epidemic curve of flu-like syndromes shows values ​​above the epidemic threshold and higher than those recorded in the last two seasons “underlines the ISS, specifying that” not only influenza viruses, but also various respiratory viruses including rhinoviruses, SARS-CoV-2 and, in part, respiratory syncytial virus and adenoviruses contribute to this increase “. In the week under review, the number of new cases in the age group between 0-4 years is 19.6 per thousand assisted, while between 5-14 years it is 5.9 / thousand, between 15-64 years of 3.9 / thousand and between the over 65s of 2.8 / thousand, for a total of 284,700 new cases estimatedwhich add up to the 272,500 of the previous week.

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Seasonal influenza 2022/2023: transmission, symptoms and duration

Influenza is a respiratory disease caused by predominantly transmitted influenza viruses by respiratory route, spreading through the droplets of saliva (droplets) that are produced by coughing, sneezing or simply talking, especially in closed and crowded environments. Transmission can also occur through direct contact with infected people or through the use of contaminated tools and objects, as influenza viruses can persist on surfaces for a long time.

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Infected people, the ISS points out, are contagious one or two days before the onset of symptoms, and up to five days (and sometimes ten days) after the onset of symptoms. “This means that the virus can be transmitted even by apparently healthy people. Children and people with weakened immune systems can be contagious for an even longer time ”.

Distinguishing seasonal flu from Covid-19 is not easy, because often the symptoms it’s very similar. Yet there are substantial differences relating to the onset of some specific clinical signs: influenza is characterized by general and respiratory symptoms, after an incubation that is generally quite short (1-2 days) and which usually lasts 3-4 days, but which nevertheless can last for one or two weeks. THE Common symptoms of 2022/2023 seasonal flu are:

  • fever, which occurs abruptly,
  • chills,
  • bone and muscle pain,
  • headache,
  • severe general malaise,
  • tiredness,
  • sore throat,
  • cold,
  • non-catarrhal cough,
  • conjunctivitis.

Infection caused by Sars-Cov-2, on the other hand, is accompanied by symptoms which, with the emergence of new variants and the increase in the level of immunity due to vaccinations or previous infections, differ over time. The latest viral versions out there, including Omicron variants, have for example shown that fever is less and less frequent, as well as alterations in smell, and even persistent cough seems to no longer be the main indicator of Covid. Sore throat, runny nose, sneezing and headache are reported more often.

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To rule out any doubt of Covid, it is clearly the swab test for the search for Sars-Cov-2. The InfluNet and RespiVirNet 2022-23 operating protocol also highlights the possibility of carrying out, again by means of a swab test, the search for influenza viruses and other respiratory virusesincluding respiratory syncytial virus (VRS), rhinoviruses, parainfluenza viruses, adenoviruses, metapneumoviruses, bocaviruses, and other human coronaviruses other than SARS-CoV-2.

Influenza Prevention and Vaccines 2022/2023

Vaccinating, the ISS highlights, is the best way to prevent and fight the flu, both because it greatly increases the probability of not contracting the disease and because, in the event of the development of flu symptoms, these are much less serious and, generally, not followed by further complications (bronchitis, pneumonia, ear infections, sinusitis…). For the 2022/2023 flu season, the World Health Organization (WHO) has published recommendations for the composition of vaccines in the Northern Hemisphere:

The composition of quadrivalent vaccines recommended is the following:

Vaccines obtained in embryonated chicken eggs

  • A/Victoria/2570/2019 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus
  • A/Darwin/9/2021 (H3N2)-like virus
  • B/Austria/1359417/2021-like virus (lineaggio B/Victoria)
  • B/Phuket/3073/2013-like virus (lineaggio B/Yamagata)

Vaccines obtained from cell cultures or recombinant vaccines

  • A/Wisconsin/588/2019 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus
  • A/Darwin/6/2021 (H3N2)-like virus
  • B/Austria/1359417/2021-like virus (lineaggio B/Victoria)
  • B/Phuket/3073/2013-like virus (lineaggio B/Yamagata)

The composition of trivalent vaccines it’s the following:

Vaccines obtained in embryonated chicken eggs

  • A/Victoria/2570/2019 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus
  • A/Darwin/9/2021 (H3N2)-like virus
  • B/Austria/1359417/2021-like virus (lineaggio B/Victoria)

Vaccines obtained from cell cultures or recombinant vaccines

  • A/Wisconsin/588/2019 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus
  • A/Darwin/6/2021 (H3N2)-like virus
  • B/Austria/1359417/2021-like virus (lineaggio B/Victoria).

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