Prevention of influenza and other acute respiratory viral infections: how to avoid the disease?

Prevention of influenza and other acute respiratory viral infections: how to avoid the disease?

A runny nose, headache, fever, a broken condition ... If you believe the statistics, 95% of all infectious diseases are the so-called colds, or rather, ARVI and flu. But is it really the disease - the inevitable companion of the autumn-winter season, or does effective prevention of flu and colds really exist?


Prevention of SARS and flu during the cold season and not only
In our country, 40% of all sick-leave certificates are issued because of acute respiratory viral infections, in particular the flu. Among children, the situation is no better: six to eight episodes of “cold” per year are the statistical norm for children attending kindergartens and schools.

Of course, no one wants to get sick, not to mention how much treatment can result in, especially when all the family members in turn are suffering from an infection. And the complications of these diseases, to put it mildly, are unpleasant: otitis, bronchitis, pneumonia ...

Few people remember about prevention, and if they do, they usually start with “grandmother's” measures like garlic and onions, and it’s good if they are added to food, rather than trying to drip into the nose. Meanwhile, viruses are not vampires and are not afraid of garlic. Phytoncides contained in the essential oils of these plants kill only bacteria, fungi, and some protozoa microorganisms.

To prevent colds and flu should be approached comprehensively. The correct set of preventive measures is, first of all, the correction of lifestyle and nutrition, and only then the use of folk remedies or drugs.

Home remedies for the prevention of cold and flu
Before putting on a mask and drinking medicine, some habits should be reviewed.

It is not necessary to look for entertainment in the period of the epidemic in places of large crowds: cinemas, shopping centers. It is better to postpone such fun until the summer, replacing them with fresh air walks, winter sports. Clothing should be “according to the weather”: sweating, overcooling is much easier.

Proper nutrition . Antibodies and enzymes that destroy bacteria and viruses are proteins. And if not enough of them enters the body, the immune system cannot fully function. Therefore, meat, preferably lean such as poultry or beef fillet, fish, cottage cheese and dairy products should be on the table every day. In addition, animal products - a source of vitamins A, D, B12 and others necessary for normal life. Of course, we are talking about full-fledged proteins, and not sausages, sausages and other semi-finished products.

Airing . Systematic airing reduces the concentration of viruses and bacteria in the air by 80–90%. It is necessary to air properly: wide open the vents for 20–30 minutes and repeat this 2-3 times a day, and not keep a small gap in the window all the time. Of course, all households at this time should be dressed. You should not be afraid of drafts: the flow of cold air by itself does not cause a cold, viruses are dangerous, which, in fact, should be removed by airing.

Air humidification . The colder outside, the less moisture in the surrounding air. Heating batteries can only warm it, but not moisten it. Due to excessive dryness, the mucous membranes of the nose and pharynx often dry up, crusts appear. This not only causes discomfort, but also violates the functions of local immunity: lysozyme, interferons, immunoglobulins are able to work normally only in a moist environment - in the mucus produced by the mucous membranes. Therefore, the air must be moistened additionally. If you do not want to buy a humidifier for some reason, you can hang wet terry towels on the batteries and change them as they dry. In the apartments where the aquarium is installed, there are no problems with dry air.

Moisturize the mucosa and help washing the nose with saline. In addition, rinsing the nose after being in public transport or another place where people gather, you can wash out the mucous and viruses. Just do not try to make the solution "stronger" - enough 9 g (a teaspoon with a slide) of salt per liter of water. The salinity of this tool is equal to the salinity of the blood, and therefore the solution does not violate the protective functions of the mucous.

Hardening improves thermoregulation, and thus protects against hypothermia. You should not jump headlong into the hole or pour a bucket of ice water over yourself. You need to start gradually. Hardened help:

Air baths in a well-ventilated area, duration - no more than 3 minutes.
Vigorous rubbing with a wet towel to a feeling of warmth and redness of the skin. First, the towel should be warm (32–34 degrees), gradually the water temperature drops to room temperature.
Pouring on the feet . Starting with water at room temperature, once every 10 days you can lower the temperature by 2–3 degrees. And be sure to rub well after the procedure.
In any case, hardening is a long process, requiring patience and constancy.

As for the mask - it is already necessary to get sick, in order to delay at least some of the viruses spread during sneezing and coughing. But the mask cannot protect from them healthy - the cells in the material are too large. In addition, often the virus does not spread through the air, but with dirty hands: the patient sneezed in his palm, held onto the rail in a transport or a basket in the grocery store. Viruses on similar items at room temperature persist for up to 6 days. Therefore, you should not rub your nose, eyes in public places, touch your face altogether, and after returning home you should wash your hands.

Drug Prevention Measures
Vaccination, or vaccination . Each year, on the eve of the cold season, WHO publishes a bulletin with a forecast on the basis of which vaccine manufacturers form their preparations. Vaccination is strongly recommended for people for whom the risk of developing dangerous complications of the flu, such as pneumonia and respiratory failure, is extremely high:

children from 3 to 5 years old and adults over 65;
suffering from chronic cardiovascular diseases;
patients with diabetes (which reduces the ability to resist any infection);
people with obesity (limiting lung mobility and increasing the likelihood of stagnation).
Vaccination is not always able to protect against infection, but prevents severe illness and death. This is true only for the flu. Vaccines against other acute respiratory viral infections have not yet been invented, and this is hardly possible, given that more than 300 types of viruses can cause such a cold.

Rinsing the nose . You can, as already mentioned, make a saline solution yourself, or you can buy the finished mixture in a pharmacy in a bottle with a convenient spout. True, the experts of the independent portal Cochrane did not find a difference in the effectiveness of ordinary salt solution and diluted seawater offered by various manufacturers, so this is a matter of personal preference.

Vitamin and mineral complexes . By themselves, they do not cure or protect against infection, but they do help to maintain normal immunity.

Interferon inducers . Interferon is a special protein that creates antiviral immunity. Interferon inducers are drugs that increase the body's production of this protein. Recent clinical recommendations for the treatment of influenza and other acute respiratory viral infections in children indicate the ineffectiveness of such drugs, including for prevention. It is useless to bury interferons in the nose, moreover, such a “prevention” can provoke nosebleeds.

Antiviral agents . WHO recommends for the prevention of influenza oseltamivir (Tamiflu®) and zanamivir (Relenza®), stipulating that these drugs act specifically on the influenza virus. Domestic experts recommend umifenovir (Arbidol®) for the prevention of not only influenza, but also other respiratory viral infections.

Despite the fact that doctors consider it normal for children to have up to six episodes of a cold a year, and for an adult two or three, nobody wants to get sick. To effectively prevent colds and flu, we need a set of measures aimed primarily at changing lifestyle in order to maintain normal immunity. Vaccinations, antivirals and vitamins will help fight infection.

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