How big can the double threat be this winter?

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COVID infection is currently Low or decreasing In most Western countries except the United Kingdom, there is still a long way to go before the pandemic threat ends. A major concern this winter is whether COVID will come back and other respiratory illnesses will recur strongly with it.Especially influenza..

In both the Southern and Northern Hemispheres, influenza Infection Rapidly declined and almost disappeared Immediately pandemic. The social distance measurements used to contain COVID were even more effective in reducing the spread of influenza. But unfortunately, this means that we need to have the courage now for the flu to get particularly bad this year.

In some respects, the immune response to COVID and influenza is the same.Relatively recent infections or vaccinations provide excellent protection against subsequent infections, but soon Protection begins to decline.. However, early reinfection is generally asymptomatic or relatively mild. However, the longer the gap between immunization and reinfection, the more More serious Subsequent infections are likely.

This is especially apparent when you look at how influenza affects people living on remote islands.They can go for long periods of time without being exposed to the flu, so when they finally encounter the flu, their Mortality It is high. One study I saw people living in Tristan da CunhaA group of isolated South Atlantic islands have found that just a few years of exposure to the flu appear to increase the risk of illness.

Therefore, the concern is that COVID control measures, which have almost completely restricted people’s exposure to influenza over the last 18 months, reduce innate immunity across the population.We have lived essentially everything Remote island From the beginning of 2020, measures for blockades, travel bans, and working from home were introduced.

Therefore, a recurrence of the flu can affect more people than is seen during the normal flu season and can cause more serious illness. The same probably applies to other respiratory viruses. In fact, this may have already happened.Recently people Especially bad cold In England.

However, it is not easy to predict when the flu will recur, how much the flu will get worse, and more common.Currently, the incidence of influenza is Still quite low in the UKHowever, if the virus begins to spread, this can change very rapidly.

Fortunately, there are safe and effective flu vaccines that reduce both the risk of infection and serious illness.But those people Not very effective Like most Current COVID vaccine.. Moreover, how well they work varies from year to year. The influenza virus mutates more quickly. In other words, multiple stocks circulate and change every year. If the vaccine does not contain a virus strain that turns out to be the predominant strain of virus each winter, its effectiveness is reduced.

Separately prepared for winter in the Northern Hemisphere and Southern Hemisphere, recommendations for viruses to include in the annual influenza vaccine are: World Health Organization, Evaluate circulating strains in advance. However, with so few cases of influenza over the last 18 months, it is harder than usual to predict which virus will predominate this winter. Therefore, in addition to being vulnerable to the flu, this year you are at a higher risk of getting a less effective vaccine than usual.

How this is combined with COVID

Even before the pandemic, the winter flu put a lot of pressure on both GP service When hospital Every year. With many COVID patients occupying hospital beds in medical services, it is particularly difficult to handle, Increase pressure Further about medical services. Ultimately, the increased burden on the NHS puts people’s health at risk.

However, there are additional risks: coinfection. You can get COVID at the same time you get another bacterial, fungal, or viral infection. actually, One study A study of hospitalized COVID patients estimated that 19% had another infection. Patients with coinfection were found to be more likely to die.

In the early days of the pandemic, when the flu was still prevalent, UK-based researchers were able to: Compare the results COVID alone vs. COVID-percentage of people co-infected with influenza.Jointlyinfection They were about twice as likely to be hospitalized in the intensive care unit, twice as likely to need ventilation, and about twice as likely to die as those who had just developed COVID.

It is not possible to determine if there will be a major influenza pandemic in the UK this year, but if not, it will almost certainly happen in the near future. And when the flu recurs, it can affect more people than most years before COVID and cause more deaths than usual. That number can be quite large.Influenza in bad winter Kill over 20,000 people Of England.

If influenza and booster COVID vaccines are offered this fall, people will be exposed to direct threats and increased flu pressure, which will probably lead to medical services that are still struggling to deal with COVID. Accepting the provision of influenza and booster COVID vaccines is doubly important. ..

Even if you have your COVID shot, it’s flu vaccine time

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How big can the double threat be this winter?

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