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Flu season in Vienna

Flu epidemic could hit Austria

Austria should brace itself for flu season as the cold spell brings the perfect conditions for viruses, experts have warned.

The freezing temperature make it easier for a virus to perforate mucus membranes in noses and mouths and then to survive longer, leaving the bearer to deal with runny noses and short throats.

This can lead to both influenza and the common cold, which are both spread by viruses. Vaccines help to protect against influenza but there is no treatment for a common cold.

Vienna physician Dr Max Domej warns that antibiotics don't treat these symptoms but only keep the bacteria at bay. For those with a fever up to 38.5 degrees, he also suggests not taking fever-reducing agents as fever is the most effective weapon against viruses.

"You can help protect yourself by frequently washing the hands," advises Dr Domej. "Keep away from other people's faces and keep your distance from others."

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