This Tuesday, October 18, France launched its annual vaccination campaign against seasonal flu, a respiratory infection that has been somewhat forgotten, as the Covid-19 has saturated the health services for the past two years. “The spread of the flu virus has been slowed down over the past two years by respecting barrier gestures, but the relaxation in this area favors the return of contagions”, indicates Yves Buisson, president of the Covid-19 scientific watch unit of the National Academy of Medicine. People with a chronic illness or in a situation of obesity, those over 35 or even pregnant women are therefore strongly encouraged to get vaccinated, as their immune defense system needs to regain its strength to fight this virus. . Especially since the data observed in the southern hemisphere, which foreshadows the future situation in the North, “show an early and intense flu epidemic”, notes the epidemiologist.

At the same time, the Covid-19 is still raging, launched in an eighth wave of contamination. In its epidemiological update of October 20, Santé Publique France reports “an incidence rate stabilized at a high level and positivity rates on the rise among those over 70”. Likewise, the number of new critical care admissions continues to increase.

Two potentially dangerous viruses therefore circulate together, sharing modes of transmission (airways and direct contact), and many symptoms (fever, cough, muscle pain, etc.). “The best way to differentiate them is to go to a pharmacy to do a quick diagnostic orientation test,” recalls Yves Buisson. “Those used for Covid-19 are now well known but we must not forget that there are also some for the flu”, he adds. Symptoms commonly seen at the start of the Covid-19 epidemic, such as loss of taste and smell, have largely subsided with the Omicron variant, only a test seems able to tip the scales on one side. or the other.

The best way to protect yourself is to act upstream, through vaccination. “The vaccines against Covid-19 and the one against influenza both have great clinical efficacy, that is to say that they prevent the development of severe forms”, specifies the specialist. A survey published at the beginning of October by Santé Publique France noted, however, that “less than half of people at risk of serious forms of influenza” intended to be vaccinated.