Focus on the winter infections that are coming

Focus on the winter infections that are coming

– Virus-laden droplets emitted during coughing, sneezing or by the sputter and saliva of people infected with a respiratory virus; – Direct contact of the hands of an infected person with another person (for example by shaking hands) or by contact with objects (toys, comforters, pacifiers, elevator buttons, cutlery, etc.) contaminated with a sick person. »

Pneumonia, Flu, Covid-19: What are the risks associated with these respiratory infections? Little known to the general public, pneumococcal infections are caused by the bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae. They are responsible in particular for pulmonary complications, known as pneumonia, of which they are the primary cause. “Pneumonia is a potentially serious disease, especially in people over the age of 65 and/or weakened by a chronic disease”, explains Dr Paul Loubet, infectious disease doctor at the CHU de Nîmes. The pneumococcus is thus responsible for 10,000 deaths each year.

Whether it is influenza, pneumococcus or even SARS-CoV-2, complications are more frequent and more serious in people at risk. For example, the risk of occurrence of a pneumococcal infection is multiplied by 4 in the presence of a chronic pathology and by 23 to 48 in people immunocompromised due to cancer. When it comes to SARS-CoV-2, the risks of hospitalization are more than 8 times higher among those aged 85 and over compared to those aged 40-44, and deaths in hospital for Covid-19 almost 200 times higher.

Who should be concerned about vaccination against these infections? Who exactly are these famous people at risk? “A person at risk is a person who, because of their age or a chronic pathology such as diabetes, renal, cardiac or respiratory insufficiency, will be at greater risk of developing a serious form of the disease and/or complications,” says Dr. Paul Loubet. “During the pandemic we used this term a lot, but even today many people do not consider themselves to be at risk. And also remember that it is possible to accumulate these infections thus exposing to even greater risks. This is why co-vaccination is highly recommended. A person at risk may very well receive the flu, SARS-Cov-2 and pneumococcal vaccines on the same day.

Can we predict in advance the importance of the flu epidemic that will rage this year? “The data from Australia showed that the flu epidemic was earlier and more intense than the years before the pandemic”, underlines Dr. Loubet. “It circulated concomitantly with the Covid-19, which caused strong tensions on the hospital system”.

Are we sufficiently protected against winter infections? In the context of a still active circulation of SARS-CoV-2, and with the approach of winter, only 41% of 60-79 year olds and 53.5% of 80 and over among eligible people (according to the time since their last injection) had received a second booster on November 14, 2022. More generally, the proportion of people vaccinated against these infections is still too low. “The problem is vaccination coverage,” confirms Dr. Loubet. “Against the flu, we painfully reached 52.7% in 2021/2022. For pneumococcal vaccination we have surprisingly low figures, with less than 5% of adults at risk being vaccinated. Regarding SARS-Cov-2, 10% of people over 75 are not vaccinated and only 40% have a complete vaccination schedule (having received a 2nd booster)”.

In addition to vaccination, what are the right actions to take to protect yourself? Simple preventive measures can reduce the transmission of infections during an epidemic. These “barrier gestures” block viruses and bacteria and help protect yourself and those around you:

– Wear a mask;

– Greet each other without shaking hands or kissing;

– Wash one’s hands ;

– Ventilate the rooms;

– Cough and sneeze into his elbow.

To find out more about vaccination and simple actions to best limit the risk of infection, Pfizer has developed the website www.objectifpreventionsante.fr.

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Source: Destination Health

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