The flu epidemic has begun in Malaga, and the health authorities believe it will reach its peak in mid-February. It has occurred later this year than last year, probably because of the mild, dry weather.
So far, the incidence of flu is described as 'moderate'. The viruses which are circulating appear to be type A: AH1N1 and AH3. Last year, there was a predominance of type B viruses. Judging by results so far, experts believe the peak, when it comes, will not be very high.
The accumulated rate of flu in Malaga province is 211.28 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, lower than the average for Andalucía, which is 263.59 casos per 100,000. Malaga has the second lowest rate so far, after Almeria with 155.27 cases per 100,000. In Cordoba, however, the situation is different, with 544.33 cases of flu per 100,000 inhabitants. In Seville province, the rate is 267.22.
Although the vaccination campaign has now finished, Yolanda González, the head of Public Health in Malaga province, recommends that anyone who is in a group at risk should be vaccinated. She points out that flu is a viral illness for which there is no specific treatment, but there are ways of treating the symptoms. There is no point in taking antibiotics, because they don't combat the virus. As preventive measures, people are advised to wash their hands frequently, cover their mouth when coughing or sneezing, use disposable tissues instead of cotton handkerchiefs, not to go to work or school to avoid spreading the illness, and air homes for ten minutes every day.
"Flu is like being hit by a car or run over by a train. It makes you feel as if you have been beaten up," says GP Juan Manuel Jiménez. He explains that intensive muscular pain and a high temperature (from 38.5 to 40 degrees) are the two main symptoms of flu. Other signs of the illness are generally feeling unwell, headache, a sore throat and a dry cough. Flu doesn't normally involve sneezing or a runny nose.
Flu is highly contagious and can be passed easily from one person to another through the air, and through direct and indirect contact.