Influenza A is spreading across Spain: Respiratory illness is easy to catch and symptoms last for a long time, say experts

CASES of flu continue to spread across Spain and are yet to peak, with the maximum number of illnesses expected to be reached in the third week of January. 

That’s according to figures from the SiVIRA respiratory infection monitoring system at the Carlos III health institute, which show that flu cases are currently circulating with ‘greater intensity than the rest of the respiratory viruses’, including Covid-19. 

Influenza A is causing the highest number of patients to resort to Spanish emergency rooms, according to Pascual Piñera, the vice-president of the SEMES society for emergency medicine.

Speaking to news agency Efe, Piñera said that there were 35% more patients requesting emergency care right now compared to this time last year. Of these 10% are being admitted to hospitals, which ‘have nowhere to put these patients’, he added. 

Flu symptoms and Covid symptoms are very similar, but there are ways to tell the difference.

Influenza A symptoms and those of Covid are usually very similar, and include fever, muscular pain, coughing, fatigue and a sore throat. Speaking to newspaper El Español, Lorenzo Armenteros, from the SEMG Spanish GP’s society, said that fatigue is more common with Covid, while muscular pain suggests flu.

For flu patients, these symptoms usually last a week, but some patients suffer from them for as long as 10 days. 

Armenteros added that this ‘massive spike’ in cases was predictable, given the increased number of social events during the Christmas season. 

“We are currently suffering the consequences of social interactions on Christmas Eve, in seven days we will see the results of New Years Eve, and in the third week of January, we will have the biggest epidemic peak, as a result of Kings Day [January 6], and the return to schools and university,” he explained.  

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