Each year in France, 2 to 6 million people are infected with the flu. Over the past three years, 10,000 to 15,000 people have died from the influenza virus each year.
Read more: Flu vaccine season in France: a guide to getting vaccinated
Flu vaccine recommended to fight Covid
The government and doctors are encouraging more people to get the flu shot this year as the winter flu season approaches, amid the ongoing Covid-19 health pandemic.
They hope protecting more people from the flu will ease pressure on hospitals and Covid testing centers.
Dr Matthieu Calafiore, general practitioner and lecturer at the University of Lille, told a news source Le Figaro: « [The flu jab] is not an infallible protection. In the best cases, it has a 60% success rate, which means that if you are vaccinated and you experience the flu, you have a six in 10 chance of not developing an infection. It puts luck on your side.
Difference between symptoms of Covid, flu and ‘complicated’ cold
As winter approaches, distinguishing between the flu, the common cold, and the Covid-19 could become difficult, as the flu shares many symptoms with the Covid-19 and the common cold. Symptoms such as cough, fever, and headache are common among the three diseases.
Dr Calafiore said: “In terms of clinical signs there is not much difference. The next few months are going to be complicated. ”
For example, the absence of a fever may indicate that a patient has a cold, rather than Covid or the flu. But in some circumstances, fever can also accompany a cold, in which case Dr Calafiore says the illness “usually lasts for a short time, less than 24 hours.”
Influenza fevers are also distinctive, as Dr Calafiore explains: “Influenza means high fever with a typical pattern. A fever of 40 ° C for three days followed by a lower temperature for one day, then a return to 40 ° C for three days.
When it comes to Covid-19, fever is a common symptom, although Dr Calafiore emphasizes, “You can have Covid without actually having a fever.”
Loss of smell and difficulty breathing not associated with a cold
Symptoms such as muscle pain and diarrhea are likely to indicate Covid or the flu rather than a cold. Difficulty breathing is also not associated with the common cold, as Dr Calafiore says: “With a cold, there is usually no effect on the bronchi.”
Another important symptom indicating the presence of Covid-19 is loss of smell. Dr Calafiore explains: “Headaches seem a little more common in patients with Covid, but the symptom that definitely distinguishes Covid, the flu and the common cold is loss of smell.”
Le Figaro has created a guide to the different symptoms associated with the common cold, the flu, and Covid-19. Different symptoms are classified as current (common), frequent (frequent), occasionally (occasional), rare (rare), absence of symptoms (no symptoms) according to each disease.
(Photo: Le Figaro / Screenshot)
Assume a Covid infection, unless proven otherwise
However, while the symptoms can indicate the disease a person may have, they cannot provide a clear diagnosis. Taking a Covid test remains the most reliable method to determine whether or not a person has the Covid-19 virus.
As such, anyone exhibiting symptoms that they suspect to be Covid should act with caution.
Dr Calafiore says: “Until proven otherwise, people who show symptoms should consider themselves infected with Covid-19 by default. At the first sign of an infectious virus, sick people must isolate themselves and see a doctor face to face, online or by phone to arrange a Covid-19 test.
“To say that it doesn’t matter and to continue living normally is to take the risk of spreading the virus. ”
Protective measures such as frequent hand washing also prevent the spread of colds and flu.
Call for vaccination as the flu season approaches in France
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