Every year, patients with classic flu symptoms such as high fever or chills sit in the doctors' waiting rooms. The disease does not really stop at anyone - however, there are certain risk groups who become infected particularly frequently. These include people with immunodeficiency and generally older and very young people. US researchers have now identified a surprising new risk group in a study : According to their research, people who were born between the late 1960s and the 1970s have an increased risk of severe flu.
High risk for people between 40 and 50
For the study, blood samples were taken from a total of 140 children between the ages of one and 17 and from 212 adults between the ages of 18 and 90 and evaluated. The surprising result: people who are between 40 and 50 years old today carry antibodies against the flu - but not enough to completely prevent an outbreak of disease. Accordingly, according to the researchers, they have an increased risk of a severe flu.
Are children particularly well protected?
But that wasn't the only surprising discovery. According to the researchers' data, children between the ages of three and ten have a particularly high level of antibodies against the flu. From this, the scientists conclude that early contact with the flu virus can provide long-term protection. Because: The viruses are constantly mutating and younger people adapt better to it. Certain older age groups are therefore more susceptible to infections, as was already shown in 2017 to 2018: At this time, an unusually high number of middle-aged patients contracted the flu.
Regardless of these new study data, the following still applies: especially older people aged 65 and over and people with weakened immune systems have a higher risk of influenza with a severe course of the disease. The best protection is still provided by proper hygiene:
- Regular hand washing,
- coughing and sneezing in the elbows,
- Avoiding surfaces that are potentially contaminated with viruses, such as banisters or handholds in the bus.
Flu or cold?
It is not always easy for laypeople to tell whether they just have a normal cold or maybe the flu . The following symptoms are more likely to suggest flu:
- Discomfort occurs very suddenly
- Fever sets in quickly and often rises above 39 degrees
- painful dry tickly cough
- severe headache
- severe muscle and limb pain
Classic cold symptoms such as a sore throat, runny nose or even a stuffy nose are rarely seen in the flu. If you suspect flu, you should see a doctor as soon as possible.