Winter virus: persistent cough, runny nose, fatigue… why are there so many infections at the moment?

the essential
Whoever says falling temperatures inevitably means the return of winter viruses. How to guard against it? How to take care of them? Response elements.

Dry throat, runny nose, fever, body aches… The dullness and the recent drop in the mercury mark the great return of winter illnesses. From this fall, cases of colds, nasopharyngitis or gastroenteritis are added to the many cases of winter flu. To the point of fearing a large-scale epidemic.

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During the week of September 26 to October 2, “the incidence rate of cases of acute respiratory infection (ARI) seen in general medicine consultation is estimated at 196 cases per 100,000 inhabitants”, details the Sentinelles network in its latest respiratory infection surveillance bulletin. “This rate is up from last week,” notes the network. The number of respiratory diseases has indeed quadrupled since the end of August: it stood at 49 cases per 100,000 inhabitants from August 22 to 28.

Bruno Lina, member of the new committee for monitoring and anticipating health risks (COVARS), sees the waves of winter illnesses breaking. “We lived for two years under the thumb of the Covid, which blocked the transmission of respiratory viruses thanks to barrier gestures. But now that people are letting their guard down, we are back to the usual level of circulation of these viruses”, explains the virologist.

Return of the seasonal flu

As the Covid-19 epidemic enters its eighth wave, doctors and experts fear a parallel intensification of seasonal flu. “All these respiratory infections are added to each other, which indeed makes the curves jump”, analyzes the doctor.

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Influenza: barrier measures, Australian scenario … why it could be more ferocious this year

The example of Australia, recently hit by an influenza epidemic, may lead one to fear the worst. This country has indeed recorded more monthly cases than in 2017 and 2019, years when contamination had already soared, including fatal cases. “What happened in Australia is an element of alert”, recently recalled Alain Fischer, former Mr. Vaccin of the government.

So how do you protect yourself from these infections? For Bruno Lina, this mainly involves maintaining barrier gestures. “We had adopted reflexes that made it possible to block all these respiratory viruses. Let’s go back to applying them in a reasonable way! For example, when you are in a closed place or with a fragile person, you should not hesitate to put the mask back on”, advises the doctor. “Similarly, it is better not to stay in a closed space if you are fragile, and continue to ventilate as much as possible to circulate the air”.

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