Spring is here, Easter is just around the corner, but the climate is not helping to make respiratory illnesses a memory. The warning from infectious disease specialists also arrives just in time for the Easter holidays and the cold weather that is affecting a good half of Italy (northern and central Italy). The professor starts it Massimo Andreoniscientific director of Simit (Italian Society for Infectious and Tropical Diseases): “Last year in particular, the flu was circulating until it broke out, so it is there and is still circulating, as are various respiratory viruses, favored by temperatures that are not yet spring-like – warns Andreoni –. The cold actually creates the conditions or predisposes to respiratory infections.” The expert therefore emphasizes: “Pay particular attention to protecting fragile people.”

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These viruses are still circulating

How many viruses do we have circulating today? Or rather, which viruses should we be most wary of? The answer comes from Fabrizio Pregliasco, Medical Director of the Galeazzi Hospital in Milan. “Let’s say we’ve had a severe flu season, a trend that tends to slowly decline,” Pregliasco explains. “Now we expect at least 300,000 reported cases.” RespiVirNet network and just as many were not reported to family doctors. I remind you that RespiVirNet surveillance is the integrated (epidemiological and virological) surveillance system for cases of influenza-like syndromes and respiratory viruses (formerly InfluNet).

“So,” Pregliasco continues, “during the Easter holidays and immediately after, we will probably have around 600,000 Italians affected by rhinoviruses (colds), metapneumoviruses (lower respiratory tract diseases in children), enteroviruses (also vomiting and diarrhea) and adenoviruses are (also conjunctivitis and gastroenetheritis), respiratory syncytial virus – Rsv (particularly affects the lungs of children and the elderly), a bit of flu and a bit of Covid”.

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“Possible serious impact on fragile people”

All of these pathogens could infect people of all ages, but children and the elderly are particularly likely to suffer. In addition to fragile patients. “They will strike across the board, sometimes even with serious consequences, including in the sense of bacterial superinfections. By this I mean the fact that they can thus pave the way for pneumococci (Streptococcus pneumoniae), the main cause of pneumonia – Pregliasco clarified – Frail people and children in particular are at high risk.”
In this context, Andreoni would like to highlight a particular aspect: “The many cases of influenza (particularly type B influenza) with some hospitalizations, colds and even syncytial virus in adults are also due to the low vaccination rate.” – he says – It is It is clear that an Easter marked by bad weather makes it easier for families to gather at home rather than outdoors and this puts the frail at greater risk. Let’s remember to give them and their elderly a minimum amount of attention “.
And he concludes: “Are you wearing a mask? In other countries it is normal to use them in spring against pollen and also against the tail of respiratory viruses. Here, however, she is suffering from the consequences of Covid. Many would have their fingers cut off” to avoid wearing it.


Let’s get to the symptoms. It must be said that between the flu and other viruses associated with it there is a difference in symptoms of an intangible gradation. In practice there is a very wide variety, but there is not much difference between the two categories. The symptoms are therefore somewhat similar to those of the flu: cold, sore throat, fever, gastrointestinal complaints, bone pain, chills, general malaise. In all these cases, the symptoms do not last more than five days and you simply need to contact your family doctor to obtain a prescription for the treatment to be carried out. “Often the overlap with the flu suggests a mix that leads many to say, ‘I had the flu,’ even if that wasn’t the case,” emphasizes Pregliasco.

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What to do

Let’s assume that a “cousin” virus of the flu has infected us. How should we treat ourselves? “The problem can also be treated through responsible self-medication,” answers Pregliasco. “This means using symptomatic medications that must alleviate the symptoms without eliminating them: this is a fundamental principle of responsible self-medication.”
To prevent the virus from spreading, the symptoms must be alleviated “without completely eradicating them,” he said, so that the body can develop the right antibodies to fight and defeat the enemy. “We are talking about active ingredients ranging from antifever, acetylsalicylic acid and ibuprofen, to nasal decongestants, formulated alone or in mixtures, to other medicines that target specific symptoms,” concludes the virologist. “The antibiotic, however, is not.” It should never be taken at first glance. And you have to be careful in the first four days: if the situation doesn’t improve, you have to go to the doctor.”