Every year, the flu returns to France between December and April and affects nearly 2.5 million people. The last epidemic was only short-lived but the case was more serious. What are the first warning signs? How to prevent transmission?
In 2019, the flu epidemic began in early Januaryreached its peak during the first week of February and ended at the end of February, 8 weeks epidemic. That lasted half during 2017-2018. According to the French Public Health Bulletin published on October 21, 2019, the epidemic dmoderate intensity in outpatient treatment, but marked by a high number of hospitalizations after emergencies for diseases such as influenza and serious cases treated in intensive care. This epidemic has also been marked by significant excess mortality in a short period of time, with about 8100 deaths associated with flu. The cause of the severity of this outbreak is the co-circulation of viruses A (H3N2) and A (H1N1) and vaccines that are not efficient enough: "In the classic virus, strain A, the vaccine covers about 50% of people, and in other circulating viruses, the coverage is very bad, which is 20%, which can explain the poor mortality rate."Minister of Health Agnès Buzyn said on 7 February.
Every year, influenza epidemics can affect all age groups, but the most vulnerable people are them children under two years. adults above 65 and people with certain chronic diseases. The most common symptoms are:
- High fever (more than 39 ° C);
- Severe fatigue (also called "asthenia");
- Muscle aches and joints;
- Dry cough.
In all cases, if there is sudden swelling or without improvement of the condition 72 hours after the first symptomsit is absolutely necessary consult a doctor.
"The incubation time (the time that passes between the time of illness and the onset of symptoms) generally takes place between 24 and 48 hours, but can be extended up to 72 hours", recalls Dr. Parneix."However, patients are contagious, even before the onset of symptoms, for an average period of 6 days", he added.
To be contaminated with influenza virus, you must make contact with someone who has been confiscated. Contamination can be done in three ways. The first by airway : sick people throwing drops of saliva in the air, talking, coughing or sneezing. Millions of viruses are then in the air, ready to be inhaled and polluting you. The second, through close direct contact : a sick person shakes your hand or kisses you. Finally, contamination can be carried out by contact with affected objects by an ill person, such as a doorbell or telephone. To protect yourself, it's better to respect some of these hygiene movements:
- Wash your hands thoroughly and systematically after blowing, coughing or more generally, after every walk,
- put your hands in front of your mouth when coughing and close your nose when sneezing,
- blow your nose in a tissue and then throw it in the trash,
- wear a surgical mask if you are sick and you have to go to a closed and public place, it prevents contaminating others.
To limit the seasonal influenza epidemic, it is important to adopt simple precautions every day to limit the circulation of the flu virus, especially in the community and on public transportation that is easily transmitted.
this hygiene measures must be respected to limit transmissionat the beginning of the first flu symptoms. Especially, wash your hands regularly, teach your children to blow their noses with disposable tissues, cover their noses with their mouths when sneezing or coughing. In any case, consult your pediatrician so he can examine it and provide the most appropriate treatment. For people with flu, it is recommended:
- to avoid close contact with the person arrested and especially if someone is fragile;
- Wash your hands regularly, especially after contact with patients.
In terms of flu symptoms, it is necessary to consult a doctor immediately. This one will make the diagnosis and prescribe the medicine that is most suitable for you. In general, it is necessary to take paracetamol to calm fever, aches and pains. Vitamin C is also sometimes recommended to fight fatigue. If necessary, we can complete it with nasal decongestants fund antitussive for a dry and rebellious cough. Finally, it is necessary drink a lot and rest. but forget antibiotics : "flu is caused by viruses and antibiotics are not effective at all for treating viral diseases, moreover they can worsen the good bacteria that the body needs to defend itself from these diseases.Pierre Parneix explains: Because hands are the source of a lot of contamination, don't hesitate to wash them with soap regularly during the day, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. hydro-alcohol gel also comfortable, but in the long run, can dry hands. Finally, think about airing parts regularly, several times a day: You will thus eliminate the stagnant virus in the air, by sneezing and breathing.
Thank you to Dr. Pierre Parneix, Medical Medical Officer and Hospital Practitioner in Public Health (CHU Bordeaux).