Flu epidemic

The Netherlands is currently experiencing an influenza (flu) epidemic. There is a great increase in the number of people suffering with flu-like symptoms, that are identified as influenza. Flu-like symptoms can also be due to Covid-19, RS-virus or rhinovirus.

Symptoms can include a runny nose, sore throat, dry cough, cold chills, muscle acles, tiredness and a fever up to 39 C or higher.

How to reduce your risk of getting upper respiratory infections:

The advice is the same as with Covid-19; wash or sanitize your hands frequently, maintain social distancing, cough or sneeze in your elbow or tissue, and isolate from others if you develop symptoms. This is particularly important to avoid passing on the virus to vulnerable people such as babies and children, older people and those that are immune compromised.

If you develop symptoms:

  • Isolate from others as much as possible
  • Do a self-test to check whether the symptoms are due to Covid-19
  • Drink enough fluids to stay hydrated
  • Take paracetamol if you are suffering with symptoms
  • Rest and take it easy, but get out of bed a few times a day at least for a short walk around the house
  • Don’t exercise if you have a fever. Take 1-3 days rest after your fever is gone.

It may be that you feel quite unwell and need to stay in bed for a few days. It may also be that you don’t suffer too many symptoms. Usually, the fever improves within 3-5 days. It can take 1-3 weeks before you feel fully recovered. Some people do become worse and develop a lung infection or need to be admitted to hospital.

Contact your GP or the out-of-hours GP service if you have the flu and notice one or more of the following:

  • You are getting increasingly sicker
  • You become short of breath or have increasing difficulty breathing
  • You fainted
  • You have chest pain
  • You have become drowsy or confused

Call your doctor if you have the flu and 1 or more of these apply to you:

  • You drink very little or urinate very little
  • You developed a fever again after you have had no fever for a few days
  • You have low immunity due to an illness or medicines such as chemotherapy
  • You have a serious disease of your heart and blood vessels
  • You have a serious lung disease such as severe asthma or severe COPD
  • You have kidney disease that makes your kidneys work less well
  • You have a liver disease that causes your liver to work poorly

The assistant will first ask you questions about how bad your complaints are. If necessary, the doctor will examine you.

For more information visit thuisarts.nl (in Dutch) or the RIVM website 

Kind regards,

International Health Centre the Hague





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