Flu: interview with Dr. Miluše Vostradovská on the Czech Radio Dvojka

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18. 11. 2020

Internist and general practitioner for adults, Dr. Miluše Vostradovská was a guest on the show Dva na Dvojce on the Czech Radio Dvojka. The topic of discussion was the flu, and below you can read some of the most interesting questions and answers that were addressed in the interview.

Jiří HOLOUBEK, moderator

It’s the 4th of November today, does that mean we’re coming up to peak flu season at the moment, doctor?

Dr. Miluše VOSTRADOVSKÁ

Yes, the classic flu season is coming. The weather has changed and it’s now ideal for the reproduction of the virus, so we are already starting to feel the symptoms of colds, flu’s and other diseases associated with the onset of autumn and dry weather.

Šárka VOLEMANOVÁ, moderator

Doctor, you mentioned virosis and we talked about it recently at Dvojka. What’s the difference between a virosis and the flu?

Dr. Miluše VOSTRADOVSKÁ

The flu is actually a virosis, or otherwise known as a viral disease. A virosis is sort of an umbrella term for all viral diseases. There are a lot of viruses, whether it's the influenza  virus, rhinovirus, adenovirus, indeed, a whole range of viruses that cause similar symptoms to the flu and do not need to be as significant or as serious as the flu.

Jiří HOLOUBEK, moderator

Some time ago, my colleague Šárka and I heard a doctor say that you cannot get through a flu without treatment. Do you agree with that?

Dr. Miluše VOSTRADOVSKÁ

I would almost agree, because people use the term flu to describe colds and other less serious viruses. But when we do actually get the flu, most people are bedridden for up to 2-3 days! This means that there is really no point in trying to power through it, because you can do it for one day, but the next day your body will be even worse off, and you will have to rest. Taking the flu lightly is not recommended.

Šárka VOLEMANOVÁ, moderator

Doctors often say that it is a big mistake to try to power through the course of a flu, because in the long run it can bring us health complications. Is that so, if so, what are the concerns?

Dr. Miluše VOSTRADOVSKÁ

That is certainly the case. The flu can have complications in terms of pneumonia, inflammation of the heart muscle and these are diseases that can be very problematic. They can also have lasting consequences.

Šárka VOLEMANOVÁ, moderator

At the time of covid-19 pandemic, we often wonder if the symptoms we have are signs of the classic flu, or if they may be COVID-19 symptoms. Can we differentiate between them in any way?

Dr. Miluše VOSTRADOVSKÁ

In the early stages, the general population will not be able to differentiate between the two, as both are viral diseases and have a similar onset of symptoms: joint pain, muscle pain, headache, fever. In the beginning, we really don't know if we have the flu or if we have Covid, which means in any case I would recommend staying home. If the high-temperature and other symptoms persist, I would contact your registering general practitioner, and with targeted questions, the doctor should be able to diagnose the patient with the flu or covid disease or other further illness. If you have the flu, make sure to rest and let it run its course, whereas if you are diagnosed with Covid, you should make sure to undergo testing.

Jiří HOLOUBEK, moderator

So are high fevers a common symptom that accompanies the common flu?

Dr. Miluše VOSTRADOVSKÁ

Yes, they are a very classic symptom. For example, temperatures of 39, 40 ° C are a common part of the influenza clinical symptom. In children, the flu tends to be shorter, more intense. In adults, the symptoms may be longer and even the recovery period after the classic flu is longer. On the contrary, the children tend to recover and are back in full strength after in 2-3 days, jumping and running around.

Jiří HOLOUBEK, moderator

The influenza vaccination is still being promoted. What do you think about it? Are you yourself vaccinated, Doctor?

Dr. Miluše VOSTRADOVSKÁ

Yes, I am vaccinated. I've been getting the vaccine for at least 15 years, maybe more. Seniors over the age of 65 should be vaccinated, as any febrile illness can cause serious complications, both for the illness itself and for the condition of any underlying illness (such as diabetes, hypertension, and general cardiac problems). This should also be taken into account by their registering GPs, to actively offer the vaccine to seniors. In people of working age, if they have any underlying conditions, such as diabetes or asthma, or they have had cancer, they should be vaccinated as well. And then, of course, employees who come into contact with many people, such as health care workers, police and social service workers  for whom influenza vaccination is an important preventive option

There is an enormous interest of patients in influenza vaccination this year. The worldwide interest in the influenza vaccine is huge, which means that, unfortunately, it has not reached all those interested in the Czech Republic.

Jiří HOLOUBEK, moderator

Is there still a point in getting vaccinated this year or should we leave it for the spring?

Mudr. Miluše VOSTRADOVSKÁ

Certainly not the spring, now is the time. Every year you should try to get vaccinated as soon as the vaccines become available, which is usually towards the end of September or early October. This year the vaccines were on the market in the first couple of days of October, and it is recommended to get vaccinated as soon as possible, because the protective antibodies only become active in the body 14 days after the administration of the flu vaccine.

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