Winter illnesses like flu and bronchitis are surging in France.
“There will be impacts on hospitals from flu this year. It is obvious,” said Health Minister, Olivier Véran, in the National Assembly on Wednesday.
Santé publique France said on Wednesday that there had been an increase in flu indicators, particularly among children.
The number of people seeking medical help for flu symptoms increased by up to 52 percent over the course of the week, with nearly 3,000 people attending emergency care clinics with flu.
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It said that two French regions, the greater Paris Île-de-France region and Occitanie in the south, were experiencing epidemic levels of flu, while the number of regions facing pre-epidemic levels has doubled over the space of a week. The French overseas territories of La Réunion and Mayotte are also experiencing epidemic levels of flu.
0-4 year olds and the over 65s have been the worst affected so far and 32 people have been admitted into intensive care units with flu since the season began in October.
As for bronchitis, cases and hospitalisations appear to be falling compared to last week but thousands of children under the age of two attended emergency wards with bronchitis last week. The whole of mainland France is experiencing epidemic levels of the illness.
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Santé Publique France recommends that if your child is less than six months old, was born prematurely, has cardiac or respiratory problems, drinks less than half of their milk at three consecutive feedings, vomits systematically, coughs more than usual, doesn’t sleep and cries more than usual, you should take them to an emergency ward. You can read full guidelines here. Hospitalisation is rarely necessary.
Bronchitis is generally spread through coughing and saliva.
The reason for a resurgence of bronchitis and the flu is thought to be because as a general population, mask wearing and other barrier gestures mean we have lost some degree of collective immunity.