Healthy due to the wave of influenza and carnival season

Germany has survived several colds and flu infections this winter. Experience shows, however, that there is still a wave of influenza. This usually arrives in January, sometimes in February or early March. This is triggered by an influenza virus, the seasonal flu pathogen, which spreads in a modified form every year.

This is the time of the year in which we often maintain closer contact with other people than usual at carnival and carnival events. Cold or flu viruses of any kind can easily spread from one person to another by droplets of swaying and celebrating together. With a few precautions you can still enjoy the foolish days and come healthy through this season.

First of all, there is the medical background: often flu and cold are confused.

The real flu or influenza is a serious disease. Typical is the sudden onset of illness with a severe feeling of illness, which increases from minute to minute. Headache and joint pains are added, as are high fever and dry coughs. Later the "nose" can also run, but this is not always the case. Anyone suffering from influenza is tied to the bed for several days. For this reason, an annual vaccination is recommended for people who have a lot to do with others, as well as chronically ill and elderly people over 60 years of age. If you don't have them yet, you can still do it now. The immune system is most likely activated when the flu wave sets in. The so-called swine flu is related to the real flu, but usually runs harmlessly. This form of influenza requires additional vaccination.

The common cold is the classic in autumn and winter. She comes slowly, stays a few days and slowly recedes. The common cold - including runny nose and sneezing - is the main symptom. This is unpleasant and arduous for the patient, but he can still do his daily chores. There is no vaccination against the common cold.

Both diseases have in common, however, that your pathogens are viruses that enter our body through the nose. They can therefore be prevented with the same hygiene measures:

1) Wash your hands regularly. This may sound simple, but many people are unaware of how often they grasp each other's noses with their hands - and thus transport viruses directly to the entrance gate. The Robert Koch Institute has found in an investigation that many people no longer wash their hands properly. Use plenty of water and soap, rub your hands with it, even the skin between your fingers. You should do this habitually every time you come home, even if you are visiting, after each visit to the toilet and before each meal.

2) Cough and cough properly. The tip "Hand in front of the mouth" is no longer up to date. Today it's called "Ellenbeugen vor den Mund". Because if you cough into the fabric here, you will not handcuff the viruses that leave your mouth with the small cough drops. Rather, the pathogens on the dry material die off quickly.

3) Stay at home when you are ill for the sake of others. Because in the midst of the carnival hustle and bustle, you can't avoid infecting others.

4) Ventilate office and private rooms regularly, at least three to four times a day for ten minutes each. The number of viruses in the air can increase dramatically in closed rooms.

In addition to these hygiene measures, you can also do something for your immune system. If this is strong, it can cope well with pathogens and protect you from disease. You train your immune system with enough sleep, plenty of exercise outside in the fresh air and a healthy diet. The warm and cold shower in the morning works wonders, as does a smoke-free environment. It is not only a single method that strengthens the defence, but also the combination of several of the aforementioned possibilities.

Copyright: Landeszentrale fuer Gesundheitsfoerderung in Rheinland-Pfalz e.V. (LZG) Germany

Text: Dr. Beatrice Wagner, Editor: Birgit Kahl