As if the spread of the Corona virus wasn’t enough: Now Norwegian health authorities are worrying about what they fear could be a much tougher flu season than the country has seen for several years. All health care workers, everyone aged 65 and over plus those with chronic illnesses are being urged to vaccinate themselves against flu, too.
Newspaper Aftenposten reported this week that so many Norwegians are already showing flu symptoms that public health institute FHI issued a warning about it in its latest weekly report, even though it concentrates on the ongoing Corona pandemic. FHI reported rising cases of fever and coughing, with the latter contributing to the spread of what FHI has identified as the rhino virus. It’s highly contagious.
“When we now start traveling again, we take flu virus home with us,” Kjersti Rydland of FHI told Aftenposten. It’s still not clear exactly which virus may spur a flu epidemic this year.
There’s been little flu in Norway in recent years, especially since Corona shutdowns kept people much more isolated. That means fewer are immune, prompting the need for flu vaccine that FHI promises will be in ample supply. It’s all but impossible to distinguish symptoms from those for Corona, so FHI wants those feeling ill to get tested. FHI also urges everyone to keep washing their hands, use face masks when it’s not possible to stay a meter away from others and stay home if feeling ill.