The fact that more time is spent indoors due to the cold weather, and the compulsion of masks is only limited to hospitals contributes to an increased risk of the spread of upper respiratory tract diseases, particularly influenza. In recent weeks, family doctor appointments for flu cases have increased nationwide. Since the symptoms of COVID-19 and the flu may be similar and both conditions may be fatal, they should not be disregarded and should be reported to the doctor as soon as possible.
Federation of Family Physicians Associations (AHEF) Dr. Yusuf Başak said that the flu (influenza) is a highly contagious respiratory disease that is frequently seen from October to the end of March and the beginning of April throughout the year. Due to the effect of cold weather, spending more time indoors and not using masks, there is a great increase in seasonal flu cases.
Stressing that the increase in the number of such patients in these months is obvious and expected, Başak stated that this should not be considered an epidemic. Başak pointed out that flu viruses can easily be transmitted from a sick person to other people, reminding that the flu is usually transmitted by the virus-containing droplets scattered by the behaviors of people who are sick such as speaking, coughing and sneezing, to the mouth, nose and eye mucous membranes of people who are 1 meter (3.2 feet) or closer to the patient, Başak said.
“To avoid the disease, you should stay away from crowded and closed environments as much as possible during the flu season, try not to contact, hug or shake hands with sick people, wash your hands frequently, wear a mask and pay attention to personal hygiene rules.”
He warned that the flu is mild in many individuals, and these people recover completely within a few days.
Emphasizing that the most effective way to protect against the flu is shown by scientific studies in the world. “For this reason, it is recommended that especially those in the risk group where the disease progresses severely and even deaths can be seen should get vaccinated immediately” he added.
“The perception that the pandemic is over is the biggest obstacle in the fight against COVID-19”. Başak pointed out that the COVID-19 epidemic is not over, but its effect has decreased, and said that the World Health Organization (WHO) and scientists has also warned about this issue.