peak arriving between March and April. Symptoms

As the weeks go by, while seasonal influenza type A seems to be decreasing, we are seeing an increase in cases caused by another type of influenza virus: type B. This phenomenon, observed in recent weeks, has attracted the attention of experts, but the president of the Italian Society of Paediatrics, Annamaria Staianoexpressed a message of tranquility to families, explaining what this type of influence consists of.

What is type B influenza?

Influenza B constitutes one of the main variants of seasonal flu, ranking second in terms of incidence and representing approximately 25% of all cases. This pathology, characterized by a viral origin, affects the respiratory system mainly involving the nose, throat and, occasionally, the lungs. It is most frequently found in children over the age of five and manifests itself, as we will explain better later, through typical flu symptoms, including muscle aches, cough and fever.

Should we worry?

Dr. Staiano explained to Ansa that this flu syndrome, mainly widespread among children, will reach her peak between March and April. Despite the increase in cases of type B influenza, he underlined that there is no reason to be alarmed and that the situation is manageable. “After type A influenza, we now expect a new peak of cases in the next two months caused by type B influenza virus,” he said, adding that it is a virus very similar to type A and that its contagiousness is minor, so we do not expect such a massive spread as that observed with the type A virus.

Influenza B: symptoms

The symptoms of type B influenza are comparable to those of seasonal “winter” influenza. As highlighted by the president of the Italian Society of Pediatrics, the symptoms include fever, minor respiratory difficulties and muscle pain. Dr. Staiano underlines that complications are extremely rare and the duration of symptoms is usually about a week.

How it is transmitted

Influenza B is highly contagious and it spreads easily from person to person through contact with droplets of saliva and mucus emitted during sneezing, coughing or simply talking at very close range. Once viruses reach the mucous membranes of the respiratory tract, infection occurs.

These viruses can also survive for a short time outside the human body, making indirect transmission possible through contact with contaminated surfaces, such as doorknobs, handkerchiefs, light switches and faucets. This is why the flu spreads more easily among family members, classmates, colleagues and in closed, crowded places.

How to treat it

The type B influenza virus is covered by the quadrivalent influenza vaccination, which was administered during the vaccination campaign since the previous October. Thus, those who have been vaccinated also have protection against type B influenza.

To combat the flu, antipyretics and anti-inflammatories are used, accompanied by rest. According to Dr. Staiano, antibiotics should not be used, as they are only effective against bacterial infections and not against viral ones.

How contagious is influenza B

Dr. Staiano clarifies that the type B influenza virus is contagious lower than type A. Therefore, we do not expect to see the millions of cases recorded with the A virus during the peak between December and January, although for now cases are increasing.