Every year, as the winter months begin, the flu virus begins to spread. The cold weather weakens our immune system and makes the virus's job much easier. Flu is an infectious illness of the respiratory tract which is caused by the flu virus. The virus is transmitted in tiny airborne droplets which are produced when we sneeze, cough or speak and are then breathed in by others. The virus can also be transmitted indirectly when we touch surfaces (e.g. door handles) which have been previously touched by an infected individual.
Often confused with the common cold
The typical symptoms of a flu infection are the sudden onset of a high temperature (over 38°C) accompanied by shivering, a runny nose, coughing, a sore throat, headache, dizziness, and aches and pains. A flu infection differs from a cold in that it starts very rapidly and has more severe symptoms.
How to protect yourself and those around you
The most effective method is annual vaccination. Washing your hands regularly will also help. You can protect those around from infection by holding a handkerchief in front of your mouth and nose whenever you cough or sneeze. If you don’t have a handkerchief, you can always bend your arm at the elbow and cough into the bend.
When a vaccination makes sense
Flu can lead to serious complications for some risk groups (e.g. babies, pregnant women, people over 65 and individuals with chronic illnesses) and should never be underestimated. Doctors advise those affected to protect themselves against infection by having a flu vaccination in good time.
National Flu Vaccination Day on 3 November
National Flu Vaccination Day will be held on 3 November this year. On this day you can turn up without an appointment at participating medical practices and health centres
to receive your vaccination. Healthy individuals aged 16 and over can receive their vaccination at a pharmacy
. The best time to have a flu vaccination is from mid-October to mid-November.
If you have any further questions
about flu or the common cold, you can ask the doctors and medical staff at the sante24
health advice helpline for expert advice – free of charge, 24 hours a day. On request, sante24
can also make a doctor’s appointment for you. Tel. +41 (0)44 404 86 86