The LUMC in Leiden is concerned about the large number of people who will get flu or cold complaints in the fall and winter. Those people must also be kept in hospital in isolation to rule out that they have COVID-19. And that weighs on capacity. That is what internist Jaap Fogteloo and intensivist Evert de Jonge of the hospital say. They both played important roles during the spring corona crisis. In order to speed up the assessment of the complaints, they call on everyone who is eligible to get a flu shot. This helps prevent the hospital from becoming overloaded.
“We are now in a quiet phase,” says Jaap Fogteloo. He is head of the acute admissions department and took care of the corona patients during the crisis in March and April. “But we are now worried again. Just look at Antwerp and Barcelona and at all Dutch people who will soon be returning from vacation. So there is certainly unrest. “
His colleague from intensive care Evert de Jonge agrees. ‘It is quiet now, but we are of course busy with COVID. We are preparing well for what could still happen. ” The question is, for example, whether sufficient IC personnel are available in the event of a new crisis. ‘So we want to call on nurses from other departments again, but we now want to train them well for intensive care. That’s really important.’
Flu or corona
De Jonge is convinced that COVID-19 will show up again, but thinks it will be on a smaller scale than in the spring. He is also confident that the corona patients will be treated well, but De Jonge also has concerns.
‘What is now somewhat forgotten is that people will report flu and cold symptoms in the fall and winter. That was not the case in the spring. Then it was only corona. And that mix of flu and corona patients is difficult for us because all patients have to be in isolation to determine whether it is corona or a cold virus. And that puts pressure on capacity. ‘
‘Flu shot will help us next winter’
Fogteloo and De Jonge call on people to get a flu shot from their GP. “You really help us if you get that shot if you qualify,” says Fogteloo. The injection is for people aged 60 years and older and people or children with certain medical conditions. These people receive an invitation for the annual flu shot from their GP. A flu shot is not mandatory. Someone chooses whether or not to use the offer.
According to Fogteloo, there are many people in the target group who do not get the shot. ‘There is still some profit to be made there. The fewer people with flu symptoms, the less the pressure on healthcare will be. So extensive and massive flu vaccination will really help us this winter. ”