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Classifying summer flu correctly

Isabel Weinert & Marta Campbell
31.07.2017  14:21 Uhr

In summer, when symptoms resembling a flu infection are experienced, several causes should be taken into consideration. In these cases, before recommending self-medication, pharmacy technicians first ask some specific questions. »PTA forum« lists the most important questions, terms and information for talks with English-speaking customers.

Fatigue, a temperature, headache and aching limbs – what looks like a summer flu could well be caused by FSME (encephalitis) viruses or, with the exception of a temperature, stem from an allergy to grasses and pollen.

Those who have not been vaccinated against FSME run the risk in many areas in southern and central Germany of becoming infected with the viruses by way of a tick bite. The consequences could be serious. Pharmacy technicians and pharmacists should therefore enquire about warning signals. Some other details help to distinguish an allergic rhinitis from a flu infection.


  • Do you remember a tick bite in the last four weeks (possibly FSME)?
  • Do you have an itching spot on your body (possibly FSME)?
  • Have you lately spent much time outdoors (possibly FSME)?
  • Are you feeling dizzy or do you suffer from impaired vision (possibly FSME)?
  • Do you have a temperature?
  • Have you ever had hay fever?
  • Have you had your head cold for longer than two weeks (more likely an allergy)?
  • Do the symptoms get worse outdoors (more likely an allergy)?
  • Are your eyes itching (most probably an allergy)?
  • Have your symptoms occurred suddenly (more likely an allergy) or developed within one to three days (more likely a flu infection)?


  • It is possible that you are suffering from an FSME infection. It is therefore imperative that you see a doctor soon.
  • For your hay fever I am going to give you eye drops and a nasal spray especially for allergies.
  • I am going to give you tablets for your allergy complaints, of which you should take one in the evening.
  • I suspect that you are suffering from hay fever. Please let a doctor clarify this soon. You can then take specific precautionary measures.
  • You have a so-called summer flu, a cold. This decongestant nasal spray and these tablets with ibuprofen/paracetamol will help against the symptoms.

Additional Information

  • The FSME virus is transmitted to humans as soon as the tick begins to suck blood. To remove the tick quickly does not mean that one has not contracted FSME.
  • As a decongestant nasal spray, this hypertonic (sea) saline is also suitable.
  • Your infection has most probably been caused by viruses.
  • Only your doctor can decide if you will also need an antibiotic.
  • A summer flu is often accompanied by diarrhoea.
  • Please dissolve this sachet in water. It contains glucose and salts.
  • After each bowel movement, please drink 1 to 2 dissolved sachets.
  • If the diarrhoea continues for more than three days or if, in addition, you get a temperature, please see your doctor.
  • In the case of babies and infants, diarrhoea can very quickly become dangerous. Please see a doctor immediately.
Deutsch / German Englisch / English
Abwehr resistance
Allergie allergy
Augenjucken itching eyes
Durchfall diarrhoea
Elektrolyte electrolytes
Erkältung cold, common cold
Fieber temperature
FSME-Virus FSME virus (encephalitis virus)
Gliederschmerzen aching limbs
Heuschnupfen hay fever
Hirnhautentzündung meningitis
Hypertone Salzlösung hypertonic salt (saline) solution
immun immune
Kopfschmerzen headache
Kribbeln tingling sensation
Meersalz sea salt
Nasenspray nasal spray
Schnupfen head cold
schwach weak
Schwindel dizziness
Sommergrippe summer flu
Sonnenbad sunbathing
Zecke tick
Vocabulary on infection