Many Germans are currently suffering from colds – and the trend is rising. The corona numbers are also steadily increasing again. How you can protect yourself now.
The cold season has us firmly in its grip again: almost everyone knows someone in their environment who is currently struggling with a cough and runny nose . But the number of viral diseases in Germany is not only perceived to be high – there is also statistical evidence of a high amount of viruses. And unfortunately the trend is increasing.
According to a survey by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), there were 8,500 illnesses per 100,000 inhabitants in the week from October 23rd to 29th. This is the highest value for this calendar week since the data series began in 2011.
However, the numbers often fluctuate significantly, especially in autumn and winter. According to the RKI, the high value is not only caused by the colds typical of this time of year, but also by the “continuously increasing number” of corona infections since the beginning of July.
What is the forecast for the coming weeks?
According to the RKI, a forecast for the rest of the season is not possible. This depends, among other things, on whether and when other pathogens such as the respiratory virus RSV or flu viruses appear and whether the previously circulating viruses will then remain or be replaced.
“Experience has shown that the first cold weeks in autumn always cause a significant increase in infection cases in our practices,” says Markus Beier, Federal Chairman of the Association of General Practitioners. This time there seem to be a particularly high number of respiratory infections. In addition to “classic” colds, there are also many Covid-19 cases.
What Covid symptoms do you need to watch out for now?
“Covid-19 often starts like other respiratory infections – for example with a sore throat , runny nose or hoarseness,” said Beier. ” Fever , headaches or fatigue also often occur . However, it is difficult to describe a typical course of Covid-19, as the disease can progress very differently from case to case.” According to the RKI, loss of smell or taste like at the beginning of the pandemic is no longer frequently observed.
Important: If you suspect Corona, you should exercise caution. Infected people can be contagious one or two days before symptoms begin, says Beier. The RKI advises staying at home for “three to five days and until the symptoms have significantly improved” if you have an acute respiratory infection.
What’s next with Corona?
Can the current numbers be an indicator that the severity of corona infections will increase again? “All estimates are currently that there are more infections again due to the season and variants, but that there are hardly any changes in the severity of the disease,” said Hajo Zeeb from the Leibniz Institute for Prevention Research and Epidemiology in Bremen .
Nevertheless, as infections increase, there are also more serious illnesses because there is always a certain proportion that does not progress favorably. “Corona is currently not an issue in intensive care units,” reported Nina Meckel, spokeswoman for the German Interdisciplinary Association for Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine (Divi). In the same period of previous years there were significantly more, but here too the number is currently increasing.
With a view to winter, Meckel referred to the relatively large number of older Covid intensive care patients. “That’s why we urgently recommend that all people over 60 years of age get a flu vaccination and a booster of the Covid vaccination in consultation with their family doctor. We think that a mixture of many viral diseases will put a strain on the intensive care units this winter.”
Who do vaccinations protect?
The RKI also advises people aged 60 and over, but also those with underlying illnesses, to get a flu vaccination – from October to mid-December. According to the RKI, adults usually have basic immunity against Corona after two vaccinations and one illness or after three vaccinations.
The RKI recommends further booster vaccinations for people aged 60 and over or those who are at risk of a severe course of Covid-19 twelve months after the last vaccination or illness – preferably in autumn. No Covid-19 vaccinations are currently necessary for healthy children and young people. Doctors also vaccinate against flu and Covid at the same time.
How else you can protect yourself from infections
The RKI recommends always coughing into the crook of your arm, keeping your hands away from your face and washing them regularly . Medical masks could also reduce transmission. Distance rules are difficult to implement alone. It is better to avoid crowds of people. Otherwise, the following applies: “Strengthen immunity through proper nutrition and exercise, and pay attention to the psyche – many suffered during the intensive Corona period.”