VIEW: A GP answers questions about Corona Autumn

Winter is approaching us with huge strides – and with it the question of how much COVID-19 will limit our daily life in the cold months.

Are new virus variants circulating? Can it be assumed that the number of infections will increase because we now spend more time indoors? And is vaccination still worth it?

We gave the general practitioner prof. Jörg Schelling from the group practice in Martinsried along with three at-risk patients, 13 important questions about how we can prepare for winter now.

1. Is the Corona winter approaching?

Prof. Schelling: “I’m cautiously optimistic and I don’t think it will be as bad as last winter. No mutation is visible on the horizon, in practice we are currently seeing omicron offshoots. However, COVID-19 is here to stay – and it will be with us every year or regularly, just like the flu. Speaking of the flu: It will definitely be a cold, a runny nose, a cough, a sneeze in the fall! However, those who wear a mask can significantly reduce the risk of infectious diseases.”

2. Can vaccination prevent COVID-19?

Prof. Schelling: “In principle, vaccination primarily prevents severe disease progression, hospitalizations and deaths. That’s what he’s there for. However, anyone who gets sick despite vaccination need not be sad: From an immunological point of view, a mild course is actually the best option, because then you have a mixture of vaccine antibodies and your own antibodies (due to infection) in the blood.”


 Foto: Hausärztliche Gemeinschaftspraxis Martinsried

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The coronavirus vaccine is here to take the shock out of COVID-19 – and it’s doing it!

General practitioner prof. Jörg Schelling

Photo: Practical practice Martinsried

3. I haven’t had COVID-19 yet, should I get vaccinated now?

Prof. Schelling: “Yes, because you cannot predict how things will turn out for you. Even healthy people can have severe courses. Vaccination is therefore always a reasonable basic protection. You can get them at the vaccination center of your choice or from a doctor you trust – he can then give you individual advice about vaccinations.’

4. I have had COVID one or more times. Do vaccinations do anything at all?

Prof. Schelling: “Vaccination is always useful. With each new infection, it’s not clear how your body will react this time. It is related to previous illnesses, which variant you contracted or how your immune system is currently doing. According to STIKO (Standing Vaccination Commission), our four contacts with COVID-19 should survive the winter well. “Contact” means both disease and individual vaccinations. So anyone who has been vaccinated four times is well prepared. Anyone who has been vaccinated three times and survived the infection, too.”


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I have asthma and therefore an increased risk of a severe course. How can I protect my lungs?

Zoe L, 40 years old

Photo: private

This is how prof. Schelling: “Dear Zoe, it is important that you get used to the medication well. Do you have cortisone spray at home? Then use it regularly – especially in the colder months. If you have an infection, talk to your doctor about increasing the dose of the cortisone spray.”

6. What exactly do I have to do if I get infected now?

If your rapid test is positive, there are two options:

►If you are a patient at risk of severe progression of the disease from COVID-19, you should talk to your general practitioner about available treatment options as soon as possible after a positive test result (can be confirmed by a PCR test). Together with you, he will decide whether you should start therapy. There are now home treatment options.

►You go into home isolation for five days and notify your employer that you are sick. Call your family doctor and ask if they can mail a sick note to your home address. Important: Only when you have been symptom-free for 48 hours and your rapid test is negative should you go out with people again.

►If your health condition is very bad, call the doctor’s office – they will tell you whether you should come in or whether you should go straight to the hospital. If you need a recovery certificate, you would need to have a PCR test done beforehand. The same applies here: Please call the practice first or get a call back. Don’t just go there!

7. Who is considered a high-risk patient?

Professor Schelling: “Think about vaccination priorities in 2020: The sooner you were vaccinated then, the higher your risk. It started then in the 1980s, then they came in the 1970s, then those with chronic diseases who were taking immunosuppressants, then diabetics with secondary diseases, etc. Ask your doctor how they rate them, because several factors play a role in identifying at-risk patients : age, weight, previous illnesses, what medications you are taking, etc.”

By the way: If you are very overweight (BMI from 36), you are considered a risk patient!

Prof. Schelling: “Covid-19 multiplies particularly well in abdominal fat. So if you can shed a few pounds, it only has benefits. But please don’t live in fear and dread now or even start a zero diet – that only has a negative effect on your immune system. The good news is that even if you do get sick, there are antiviral therapies that can help. And even here I can only advise you to get vaccinated!”


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My type 2 diabetes makes me a high-risk patient for severe COVID-19. But why exactly?

George B., 56 years old

Photo: private

This is how prof. Schelling: “Hello Jörg! If your diabetes is well controlled, this is not a risk factor. But you need to know: In general, the body’s counterregulation of inflammatory processes does not work well in diabetics. The metabolism is heavily loaded and the body cannot organize its defenses as well as it does in a healthy person. The inflammation that COVID-19 creates can derail diabetes and you end up in a vicious cycle. Therefore, ask your family doctor to what extent they see you as a high-risk patient. In general, the risk only increases if you have long-term low blood sugar or if there is already long-term damage to, for example, your kidneys, heart, eyes, or if you have nerve failures in your feet and legs.’

9. What are antiviral therapies?

There are three variants of antiviral therapy:

  1. tablets. The anti-coronavirus pill is available from the family doctor. It is used in the first five days of the disease to smooth out the course.
  2. One antibody infusion directly into the vein. Hospital patients usually receive it within the first five days if the course is severe.
  3. One Antibody syringe in the glute every six months. This method is approved for both therapy and prevention – but only for people with poor immune systems. Check with your doctor if this is an option for you.

10. What measures can prevent a severe course?

Prof. Schelling: “First of all, of course, vaccination!

For at-risk git patients: Talk to your family doctor about available antiviral therapies as soon as possible after the onset of symptoms and a positive test result. These significantly reduce the risk of a severe course.

For everyone else, if you are sick, you should take it easy, drink plenty, and treat your fever. Then do something good for your immune system, eg B. taking an extra 10 to 20 mg of zinc a day – available at the drugstore or pharmacy. Zinc is anti-inflammatory, which I also took when I had COVID-19.

A healthy diet also makes sense: Make sure you eat enough antioxidants, in other words: Here, a smoothie is better than bacon!”


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In my nursing home, everyone is vaccinated four times, wears a face mask, disinfects their hands, and the rules of distance are also observed. I didn’t have COVID before, but I have a pacemaker. What can I do if I get infected?

Werner W., 73 years old

Photo: private

Answer from prof. Schelling: “Dear Werner, if you become infected, call your doctor: Antiviral therapy is an option for you in the first five days of infection.

Because if you are over 60 years old, according to the RKI’s recommendations for action, you have an increased risk of a severe course of COVID-19. However, a pacemaker will not make you a high-risk patient because it has no effect on your immune system. It would be different if you had other pre-existing conditions like diabetes or lung disease like COPD.”

12. What treatment options are there?

Prof. Schelling: “In severe cases, antiviral therapies for COVID-19 are given in the form of tablets, infusions or tips. The former in particular are ideal for home use and can be prescribed and dispensed directly by your family doctor. In the case of mild courses, you must be patient and wait out the illness. If you must take pain medication, you should stick with a product that you are otherwise comfortable with. In general, paracetamol is very suitable, but those who have an increased risk of thrombosis are advised to take the active substance ASA, because it acts to thin the blood. If you have lung disease, a cortisone spray can also help. Ask your pulmonologist about it!”

13. Which preventive medical examinations should I definitely attend?

The corona situation has ensured that fewer and fewer people go for check-ups and have large gaps in vaccinations.

Prof. Schelling: “This is disturbing. Be sure to check your standard vaccinations: you should definitely get vaccinated against influenza, whooping cough and pneumonia (pneumococcus). I recommend the HPV vaccine for younger people and the shingles vaccine for older people. In addition, you should definitely not skip a regular cancer screening – if cancer is detected at an early stage, it is much more treatable.

Please don’t miss ‘Check-up 35′ either: Here you can also talk to your family doctor about skin cancer screening or a colonoscopy if it’s necessary for you.’




Produced by Axel Springer Brand Studios for Pfizer. The content of this page is an offer from an advertising partner. The BILD editorial team was not involved. Quoted expert, prof. Jörg Schelling, did not receive a fee from either Axel Springer SE or the client who commissioned the brand story for his work on this brand story. Statements solely reflect the opinion of the quoted expert.

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