Flu not yet in circulation: ‘Take into account that colds …

There is currently no flu virus circulating in Belgium. So anyone who feels flu will not have the flu, but should be aware of possible contamination with covid-19. After all, the symptoms of both viruses are very similar.

Virologist Steven Van Gucht says this on the sidelines of the publication of the daily corona figures. “Unfortunately, the symptoms often resemble those of a cold or the flu.” he says. ‘At the moment there is no flu virus circulating in our country, and few other viruses. So there is a real chance that your symptoms are due to the corona virus. ‘

With some symptoms, the chance that corona is present is so great that anyone who exhibits one of these complaints must immediately notify the doctor. It concerns, for example, the sudden loss of smell and taste. ‘That is very typical, but it does not always happen. It is often one of the first complaints that people develop: for example, that you get up in the morning and the coffee does not smell. These complaints are more common in young people ”. Also a rapid, dry cough suffices as an alarm bell. Shortness of breath in sudden chest pain are also strong indicators of contamination.

For ‘less specific complaints’ you must have two before there is sufficient reason to contact the doctor. ‘Fever may point to covid-19, for example, but is also found in many other conditions. Other typical flu symptoms are also included: sudden onset muscle strain, heavy fatigue, lack appetite, headache, diarrhea, sore throat or even one snot nose.

If someone ‘only’ has a snot nose or sore throat, according to Van Gucht it is ‘unlikely’ that it is corona. “A snot nose alone is usually not a sign of covid.” With two or more complaints, for example a snot nose and a sore throat, there is still ‘reason to be concerned’. ‘Stay at home and see a doctor to request a test’.

For some population groups there are still specific characteristics, says Van Gucht. In the elderly can ‘sudden confusion‘or’ a sudden valalso indicate infection with the virus. In people with lung disease, the existing symptoms worsen. The same can happen in those with chronic asthma or a chronic cough.


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