Recently, health stations in Turku have been treating several influenza infections and other upper respiratory tract infections. The number of appointments has doubled since late 2017. Over 35 000 vaccines have been given this winter.

Symptoms of influenza

  • Influenza typically begins with a rapidly rising fever. It may also include muscle pain, headache, nausea and dry cough.

  • Other symptoms may include throat pain, cold and nasal congestion as in common cold.

  • Children may also have gastrointestinal symptoms.

- Healthy adults usually recover within a few weeks, but in the case of elderly people, young children and those with long-term illnesses, influenza may be followed by otitis or pneumonia, for instance. Influenza may require care in hospital or even intensive care, says medical doctor Jutta Peltoniemi, specialist in infectious diseases.

The national vaccination register gathers information on influenza vaccines in the national vaccination programme.  According to the register, over 35 000 vaccines have been given this winter.

- The register only shows a part of given influenza vaccines so the number of vaccines given to Turku residents is actually higher, says Peltoniemi.

The vaccine is more effective for virus B than virus A

Four types of influenza viruses have been circulating this winter: two A viruses and two B viruses. Currently, influenza B viruses are more common, but also the share of influenza A viruses has grown.

- The National Institute for Health and Welfare monitors and assesses the effectiveness of the influenza vaccine regarding circulating influenza viruses and it seems now that the influenza vaccine is more effective for virus B than virus A, Peltoniemi states.

Usually, the treatment of symptoms is enough, but medication preventing the spread of influenza viruses is also used, and the need for medical treatment is assessed individually at the health station.

- If you are in a high risk group of influenza due to your age or pregnancy or if you have symptoms that match influenza, contact your own health station. Occasionally even a healthy child or adult may catch a severe influenza. If your or your child’s condition gets worse or the illness is prolonged, it is important to contact health care, says Peltoniemi.

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