Willi H. has been coughing for days. He has body aches and a slight yellowish bloating. He also complains of chest pain. When it gets especially bad, she goes to the doctor. "I have the flu," he says. And I would love an antibiotic.
"Many people call it an infection with the flu or cold," says Ernst Georg Holstein, chief physician at the Pulmonology Department of the Cardiac Clinic of the Protestant Hospital Mülheim (EKM). However, the pathogens (viruses) and severity of the disease are different.
Flu is an infection that can have serious consequences. It is caused by influenza viruses. The real flu usually comes on suddenly and is often accompanied by cough, fever and headache, and body aches. Those affected may have circulation problems and may have difficulty getting out of bed.
No real flu
Willi H. does not show these typical symptoms. It has no fever. He didn't start the disease suddenly, but crawling. The doctor thoroughly examines Willi H. When he listens to his lungs and heart, he does not detect any abnormalities. Laboratory values show no increase in white blood cells and only slightly increase other so-called inflammatory values. "The clinic points out that it is not the real flu," says Ernst Georg Holstein, "and bacterial bronchitis or even pneumonia is unlikely because the values do not increase. In a bacterial infection, the patient also feels airless, has less pain, and creates a more purulent spit. Willi H. has a cold.
See your family doctor
However, the difference between colds or flu and flu is not always clear. "Not all typical symptoms show," Holstein says. Also, the test is not easy, because laboratory tests have not always shown a clear result. Therefore, patients should definitely see their family doctor if they do not become ill – especially if the flu epidemic crossed the country in November, December, January and February.
The doctor prescribes to Willi H. that he has no antibiotics, because nothing indicates a bacterial infection. "The antibiotic only works against bacteria, not the viruses responsible for the cold," explains Ernst Georg Holstein. The best for Willi H. is a lot of peace. He should drink a lot, and the doctor prescribes a cure to relieve symptoms such as nasal congestion, cough or pain. The difference between flu and flu is not always easy.
Photo: Drubig Photo Background va Flu vaccination is recommended by the Permanent Vaccination Commission for people over 60, pregnant women and people with chronic illnesses. The vaccine should be renewed every fall. Ernst Georg Holstein.
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