Health experts explain: Why you should be vaccinated against flu
According to health experts, the annual flu season usually starts in January. However, it is recommended that you have been vaccinated against influenza viruses. Flu vaccinations can help save lives.
Protect in time
According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the annual flu epidemic has started mostly in January and takes three to four months in recent years. Outside this period, only a few cases were observed. However, experts recommend vaccinating influenza viruses to be protected on time. In the 2018/2019 flu season, the insured person for the first time has a binding claim to the quadruple vaccine against influenza.
The disease can be fatal
Colds are often referred to as "flu infections", but have nothing to do with flu (influenza).
Both of these diseases are caused by different pathogens. Flu is triggered by influenza viruses.
Influenza can be associated with sudden onset of illness, fever or different malaise associated with muscles and / or headaches and irritable coughing.
"An influenza disease, especially in the elderly, women who are chronically ill and pregnant can cause complications such as pneumonia and even fatal complications," RKI wrote.
Influenza increases the risk of a heart attack
Vaccine expert from the German Society for Geriatrics (DGG), Dr. med. Andreas Leischker.
"Especially in the elderly and in people with chronic diseases – such as diabetes mellitus, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, COPD insufficiency, or kidney – can cause life-threatening complications such as lung failure," the doctor said in a statement.
In addition, experts point out that influenza significantly increases the risk of heart attack: "During the first seven days of influenza disease, the risk of heart attack increases 17-fold!" Leischker.
"And even one month after infection, the risk of infarction is still much higher than in people who are not sick." Even strokes are more common according to experts in the context of influenza.
Protection against infection
To protect yourself from flu infections, it is generally useful to strengthen the body's defenses, to stay away from patients and wash their hands regularly.
Protection also offers flu shots. This can, according to Dr. Leischker also protects against heart attacks and strokes.
Above all, people at risk must be vaccinated. But not all of them.
For whom vaccination makes sense
"Many patients still underestimate the health risks of flu infections and refrain from the annual flu vaccine," Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn said during a visit to the Paul Ehrlich Institute (PEI), the federal authority for vaccines.
"We should not underestimate flu, it does not always go well. The best protection against influenza viruses is and remains a vaccine," said the politician.
But according to experts, at most 50 percent of people are vaccinated against influenza, which is recommended for immunization.
This includes, according to the Standing Vaccination Commission (STIKO), for example, adults who have chronic cardiovascular and respiratory disease or complaints of the kidneys, liver or nervous system.
People with metabolic diseases such as diabetes mellitus, immune system diseases or blood and people with congenital or acquired immunodeficiency or HIV infection are also included.
In addition, according to STIKO, pregnant women from the second trimester, children from the age of six, women and men from the age of 60 and nursing home residents must be vaccinated.
The same applies to all people who are exposed to an increased risk of infection, professionally or privately.
For the upcoming flu season, the STIKO recommends the first quadruple vaccine – with two components each against A-and B-lines from the influenza virus, because last season a number of people surprisingly contracted B-lines that were not included in the triple vaccine.
"Influenza vaccination at the expense of compulsory health insurance will be carried out in this vaccination season exclusively with the quadruple vaccine," said Chairman of the Federal Joint Committee (G-BA), Prof. Josef Hecken, in a statement.
"This applies to certain risk groups and in general for the entire 60's. In addition to this mandatory service, health insurance also offers insurance that is insured as part of the benefits of voluntary law," said the expert.
According to RKI, after vaccination it takes ten to 14 days for vaccine protection to be fully established.
But it's also important to know: "There is no vaccine that provides 100% protection, so influenza can be a result even after flu shots," RKI wrote. (Ad)