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Flu has returned

Every winter, many people catch the flu.

Classic flu is an acute respiratory infection caused by different flu viruses.

The most frequent symptoms are the sudden on-set of shivering, widespread muscle pain, fatigue, headaches, sore throat, sneezing and a temperature that can reach 40ºC.

For most people, flu is just a bad period that will pass, but some can become seriously ill. The most common complications of flu are bronchitis and pneumonia. Flu is a particular risk for older people and people with chronic illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes and lung disease.

Many people confuse the common cold with flu. Yet, flu is generally more serious than a cold. Cold symptoms usually disappear more quickly and complications such as pneumonia are rare.

Measures to protect against flu

Flu is a highly contagious illness. To protect yourself from it, follow these recommendations:

  • reduce contact with people who are sick
  • regularly wash your hands
  • avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth as much as possible, particularly after touching potentially contaminated objects (e.g. handlebars on public transport, door handles)

To limit the spreading of flu, please always sneeze or cough into a tissue, and always throw your tissues away after use. If you don't have a tissue, sneeze or cough into your elbow, not your hand. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, especially after using public transport. If you have flu-like symptoms, stay at home.

For people at risk who are not yet vaccinated (aged over 65, women over 3 months pregnant, people with a chronic illness), scientists recommend getting the vaccine done very soon, as it needs two weeks to take effect.

You can find more information on the website www.influenza.be (available in French and Dutch).