In sickness and in health: the Netherlands is in the middle of a flu epidemic

Most of us were sure that any news about diseases and viruses was out of the way. Instead, we’re going right back into our days of sniffles and handwashing.

Twice as many people in the Netherlands reported illness in 2022 than in both 2021 and 2020, according to RTL Nieuws. But the culprit this time is no coronavirus โ€” the RIVM suspects the notorious flu. ๐Ÿ™

The reported number of cases is even higher than in both 2018 and 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic. Isn’t this awfully familiar? ๐Ÿ˜–

Flourishing flu

A spokesperson for Arbo Unie, one of the health and safety services in the Netherlands, says that short-term absences (less than a week) and mid-term absences (one to six weeks) for employees is quite high. ๐Ÿ˜“

And for good reason. GPs noticed that a whopping 59% of flu patients had severe respiratory infections. Flu epidemics in the Netherlands usually start in December or January, but this year it started in March.

Research institute Nivel believes the former coronavirus measures also helped prevent the spread of the flu.

But now that the measures were scrapped and people are back in contact, the risk of respiratory infections is back on our radars.

On the prowl

Records from the RIVM, hospitals, and laboratories across the Netherlands confirm the flu wave. “The number of people with influenza has increased considerably over the past four weeks,” says the RIVM. ๐Ÿฆ 

According to the RIVM, you usually get the real flu once every 10 years: “People often confuse the flu with the cold virus. Many may forget how sick you can get from the flu.” ๐Ÿ˜ท

On average, the flu epidemic lasts nine weeks. Arbo Unie noticed that fewer people are reporting flu-like symptoms since the epidemic began.

The number of flu cases might also be falling faster now that the weather is getting better โ€” after all, viruses spread less easily in better weather.

Have you caught the flu or cold virus this season? What was it like? Tell us in the comments!

Feature Image:Depositphotos
Katrien Nivera ๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ญ
Katrien Nivera ๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ญ
Third culture kid Katrien is a Philippine native whoโ€™s been living in the Netherlands since she was a tween. One identity crisis and two university degrees later, she is here to stay for her passion in writing and journalism. Other than organising her life on Notion and the sticky notes app, Katrien is found nose-deep in a good book, button-mashing on her Nintendo Switch, or practicing scales on her flute.


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