, Beijing, December 12 (Wei Xianghui) At present, it is the high influenza season. A number of experts said in a recent interview that the number of elderly patients may increase from December. Moreover, because the elderly generally have many underlying diseases and poor immunity, the condition is more likely to worsen after infection, and the probability of complications is also higher.

Data map: The elderly receive influenza vaccination. Photo by Ge Mengli

The influenza viruses circulating this year have not mutated significantly

At a press conference held by the National Health Commission on December 12, Wang Dayan, director of the National Influenza Center of the Institute of Viral Diseases of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said that the winter and spring influenza epidemic season in China is generally from mid-to-late October to mid-to-early March of the following year, and generally reaches a peak around January.

On November 11, the website of the National Influenza Center of China published a summary of the influenza epidemic situation in China as of November 30.

Surveillance data showed that in the 2023th week of 47 (November 11-November 20), the positive rate of influenza virus testing in southern and northern provinces continued to increase, with the A(H11N26) subtype being the main type, followed by the B (Victoria) lineage. Outbreaks of 3 influenza-like cases have been reported nationwide.

Wang Dayan mentioned that compared with last winter, the influenza A (H3N2) subtype virus and influenza B virus that are currently prevalent have not changed, and they are also consistent with the main clades circulating in most parts of the world.

Influenza in older age groups needs to be of concern

During the flu season, the elderly are a group of people who need to be a concern. At present, some hospitals have begun to pay attention to the changes in the number of elderly people who come to the hospital.

In an interview with the media, a pharmacist in charge of Chengdu Hospital of Integrated Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine said, "At present, the number of infected elderly people is relatively large, and many elderly people have chronic diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or bronchial asthma. Now the weather is suddenly cold, which is prone to acute bacterial infection, which can lead to the aggravation of the primary disease."

Lu Hongzhou, president of the Third People's Hospital of Shenzhen and chief physician of the Department of Infectious Diseases, told Chinanews that due to low resistance, the elderly have many comorbidities with respiratory tract infections, and respiratory symptoms are more obvious and more likely to be aggravated. Autumn is the peak period for respiratory infections, and there is a possibility that elderly patients will be infected and seek medical treatment in December. However, the number of patients in his hospital is similar to that of adults, especially the elderly, and there has not been a significant upward trend.

Zhou Zhihui, deputy director of the Department of Infectious Diseases of Sir Run Run Run Shaw Hospital, Zhejiang University School of Medicine, reminded that the phenomenon of false negatives in influenza virus testing may be related to factors such as insensitive detection reagents and inappropriate specimen collection methods. Especially for the elderly, it is important to diagnose and treat as soon as possible.

Vaccines remain the most cost-effective means of prevention

"At present, it is the high influenza season, and for people who have not been vaccinated against influenza before, influenza vaccination is still effective, and it is recommended that everyone get vaccinated against influenza as soon as possible." Wang Dayan pointed out that people over 6 months old can be vaccinated against influenza, especially for high-risk groups such as children, the elderly, and patients with chronic diseases, who have a higher risk of severe disease after being infected with influenza, and vaccination against influenza can effectively reduce the risk of developing severe disease and death.

Wang Dayan said that practice at home and abroad has proved that the use of vaccines is one of the most economical and effective means of prevention, vaccines are safe, as long as they are vaccinated in professional institutions as required, they can have good results, especially the elderly and children, should actively vaccinate against influenza, etc., to ensure a normal rhythm of life and learning.

Lu Hongzhou also mentioned that the elderly often have underlying diseases, and should actively control the original diseases, pay attention to physical changes, such as chest tightness, shortness of breath and other serious discomfort symptoms, should be treated in time. For older people with underlying respiratory diseases, it is recommended to keep a finger pulse oximeter at home, focusing on whether the elderly have dyspnea and decreased oxygen saturation. (ENDS)