The flu has already affected half a million Australian

There are almost half a million Italians already affected by the seasonal flu , which had, as expected, an aggressive debut: the incidence at this point of the season, equal to 2.38 cases per thousand, is in fact higher than all the incidences of the last 15 years, except the 2009-2010 season, that of influenza A.

According to data from the latest InfluNet surveillance bulletin of the National Institute of Health, 143,000 Italians were released from fever and joint pain in the last week, bringing the total from the beginning of the epidemic to 482,000 patients. In all Italian regions the level of incidence is below the baseline threshold except in Piedmont, Lombardy and Abruzzo.

In the age group 0-4 years the incidence is equal to 5.08 cases per thousand assisted, in the age group 5-14 years to 2.11 in the range 15-64 years to 2.35 and among the individuals of age 65 years or more at 1.36 cases per thousand assisted.

“The number of flu cases, while remaining at basic levels, is higher than that of all previous seasons, excluding the 2009-2010 pandemic season”. “At the moment it is not predictable if this trend will continue, in which case we could have a more aggressive influence than the previous season, or if instead it will normalize to more usual values ​​in the coming weeks,” says the expert.

“You will probably enter full activity in the next 2-3 weeks. It is difficult to predict – explains Maga – when there will be an epidemic peak, which could arrive as early as the first weeks of January”.

Last season the peak was recorded between the end of January and the beginning of February. “The advice is still to get vaccinated, also because the first data from the USA indicate an important presence of type B influenza viruses, together with the classic A / H1N1 and A / H3N2”.

“All the currently circulating strains – concludes Maga – are in any case covered by vaccines, in particular quadrivalent ones. The recommendation for vaccination is particularly important for people over 65, children (over 6 months), pregnant women , health professionals and essential services, as well as people suffering from chronic cardiovascular or pulmonary diseases , which can be aggravated, even with fatal results, by a flu infection “.

Duvet pneumonia has been diagnosed

Curl up under a thick duvet in the coming winter nights may not be as harmless as many think. At least not after a group of doctors from the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary in Scotland reported for the first time a case of “feathered pneumonia”, a lung inflammation caused by the inhalation of dust from the feathers that stuff blankets and pillows. Experts urge colleagues to remain alert if patients present with an unexplained respiratory difficulty.

The doctors, cited by the Guardian , believe that a form of hypersensitivity pneumonia depends on an immune response. Symptoms include night sweats, dry cough and shortness of breath: repeated exposure can also create irreversible scarring of the lungs. “Health care professionals are generally taught to ask patients with respiratory symptoms if they have pets at home, such as birds. But according to our experience, it usually does not extend to feather feathers from duvets and pillows,” the researchers write . “This is an important omission because the use of non-synthetic bed linen is common,” they add.

Owen Dempsey , author of the study reported by the BMJ Case Reports , has specified that it is not necessary to throw away duvet and pillows at all, but to take note of any respiratory problems when switching from synthetic bed linen to one in feather. Because, even if doctors have only documented one case, many others could go unnoticed.

The first documented case concerns a 43-year-old non-smoker man who went to the doctor after spending 3 months with breathlessness , fatigue and discomfort. The symptoms were due to an infection of the lower respiratory tract, but after a brief improvement it started to get worse again. “Two months after the onset of symptoms, I was unable to stand or walk for more than a few minutes at a time without feeling like I was going to faint,” says the patient.