Monday 23 May 2022

Colds and flu fell during pandemic restrictions


Fewer people had flu or even colds last year, probably due to coronavirus restrictions, according to the CBS Dutch statistics office.

A periodic health study suggested that in 2021, 30% of Dutch people surveyed said they had had a cold, throat or sinus infection or the flu in the previous two months.

In 2018, when this was last measured, 41% of those surveyed said this was the case. The fall was seen across almost all age groups, except in children under four and parents of children up to the age of 12 – who were just as likely to have had a cold or the flu.

Meanwhile, the incidence of various other relatively minor health complaints such as bronchitis or lung infections, ear infections, diarrhoea and vomiting, also dropped in 2021. ‘The drop…was probably linked to restrictions against the spread of the coronavirus,’ the body reported.

Measures such as social distancing, hand washing and face masks, as well as complete lockdowns, are thought to be behind the fall.

Health complaints in 2021 compared with 2018 Image: CBS

Thank you for donating to

The team would like to thank all the generous readers who have made a donation in recent weeks. Your financial support has helped us to expand our coverage of the coronavirus crisis into the evenings and weekends and make sure you are kept up to date with the latest developments. has been free for 14 years, but without the financial backing of our readers, we would not be able to provide you with fair and accurate news and features about all things Dutch. Your contributions make this possible.

If you have not yet made a donation, but would like to, you can do so via Ideal, credit card or Paypal.