The activity of seasonal influenza continues to rise in some countries of Europe, especially western Europe. Experts advise there is still time to protect yourself and those around you by getting the flu vaccination.
France, Italy, the Netherlands, and Norway have all reported a medium intensity of flu transmission. However, influenza was reported to be widespread geographically by five countries – Belgium, Denmark, France, Norway and England. Nine countries have reported increasing trends.
Those countries who are monitoring laboratory-confirmed severe influenza cases are starting to report an increase in hospitalizations. The type of flu seen this season hasn’t changed from last year, say scientists. This means the vaccinations in use remain effective against the virus strains being seen across Europe.
Take flu seriously
Influenza infects Europe every winter with 10 percent of the population infected each year. Influenza related complications cause hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations across the continent.
In order to prevent the spread of flu there are a number of steps we can take:
- Washing your hands regularly
- Staying home when sick
- Not sneezing on others
- Getting the flu vaccine (especially if pregnant, elderly, or a healthcare professional)
The elderly and other vulnerable people are most at risk from flu complications, however, even previously healthy people can suffer complications. Recent deaths from flu have been reported in the media in Norway and Poland.
The single most effective way to protect yourself and others is to get vaccinated. It still isn’t too late this season. Check with your national health authority to see their recommendations for vaccinations, or ask your doctor.