The real viral flu is by no means a simple cold (or flu infection), but a very serious illness. Up to 50 different other pathogens are responsible for more or less severe respiratory diseases, but only the influenza virus causes influenza.


The causative agent of influenza is highly contagious and is transmitted by airborne droplets, although contact can also be transmitted, after which the first symptoms appear after 24 hours.
The danger of infection already exists with a simple handshake, but it must also be borne in mind that the influenza virus can remain viable for many hours on various objects and surfaces. Thus, it can be said that during the flu season there are very different possibilities of infection.
The flu should not be taken lightly. The elderly, the chronically ill, or those with weakened immune systems may experience life-threatening complications.


In view of the constantly changing types of the virus (it constantly changes its genetic structure, mutates), the annual renewal of the composition of the flu vaccine is of particular importance. Vaccination should be carried out in a timely manner, before the start of the influenza season, in October or November. It takes about 2 weeks before the protective properties of the vaccine are fully activated. If this happens, then protection against influenza infection will be valid for the entire season.

Between 70% and 90% is the flu vaccine's success rate. Older people have a lower level of protection against the disease than younger adults. However, vaccination is important for this population as it reduces the number of life-threatening complications.

Some people refuse to get the flu vaccine, mistakenly fearing that this is how they will get sick right away. These fears are unfounded. When vaccinating in Germany, only vaccines consisting of non-viable viruses (the so-called split-vaccine or subunit vaccine) that cannot cause a disease are used. The common belief that the flu shot can weaken the body's immune system also has no scientific basis.

In some cases, as a result of excitation of the body's own defense system, reddening of the vaccination site is possible or swelling is formed in this place, it can be painful. Fever and mild malaise are acceptable for one to two days. Influenza vaccines are contraindicated in individuals with hypersensitivity to vaccine components, such as chicken protein, which is still the basis of most vaccines today. In the foreseeable future, vaccines based on cell cultures without the content of chicken protein will be available to medicine. They will also be easily tolerated by persons allergic to chicken protein.

Influenza vaccination is recommended for the following risk groups:

  • all people over 60;
  • patients suffering from immunodeficiency syndrome (for example, patients with transplanted organs, HIV-infected);
  • people with a chronic disease (for example, with diseases of the lungs or cardiovascular system, with diabetes);
  • people living in nursing homes and / or nursing homes;
  • persons who are particularly at risk of infection: police officers, teachers, doctors and medical personnel.
  • The recommendation to get vaccinated against influenza applies, of course, to all healthy people!


  • Sudden high temperature
  • Cough
  • Joint pain, headache
  • Severe discomfort.


Influenza is diagnosed on the basis of typical symptoms and is distinguished from other infections. It is often impossible to unambiguously determine the type of disease and then resort to the wording: “Influenza infection”.

In the first 3-4 days from the onset of the disease, you can conduct an express test to determine the pathogen, taking a secret from the nasopharynx. It is also possible to inoculate the virus from cell cultures. Here we are talking about a very complex method, the success of which is likely only in the first days of the disease.


With these symptoms, prompt therapy is desirable. If the disease is recognized early, viral influenza can be treated with special medications prescribed by a doctor.