How to stay healthy when everyone sneezes and coughs around?
There is no need to go underground: these reliable, scientifically proven methods will help you protect yourself from infection both at home, in the office, in transport, and in crowded public places.
The last month of winter is a traditional surge of colds and flu, which are most often transmitted in crowded places - either voluntary (for example, at parties) or random (in transport, in stores). But do not rush to succumb to panic and confidence that you can not hide from the disease. It is possible to protect yourself from a viral infection if you think through a system of preventive measures.
• Take Vitamin D. This “solar vitamin” stimulates the ability of immune cells - lung immunocytes - to resist viruses and destroy them. A study by specialists at Yale University's School of Medicine showed that adults with high blood levels of vitamin D (at least 38 nanograms per 1 milliliter) were almost twice as likely to have colds or other infectious diseases of the upper respiratory tract during the fall and winter of 2009-2010.
Deficiency of vitamin D, which a person receives to a certain extent with natural sunlight, can be compensated by taking it additionally - as part of specialized vitamin complexes or separately in capsules. Most doctors recommend 800 to 1000 IU of vitamin D daily for protection against infection, especially during the winter in northern latitudes. This is a dose that you can take, without harm to health, in addition to multivitamins and fortified milk.
• For wet cleaning use products containing chlorine.. Of course, they should not be used constantly, but if one of the family members gets the flu (especially the viral intestinal disorder, which we call "stomach flu"), chlorine-based cleaning products are the most reliable disinfection. The fact is that enteroviruses or noroviruses, which cause gastrointestinal diseases, can remain unusually tenacious on almost any hard surface. Specialists at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claim that most home cleaning products cannot cope with noroviruses - only chlorine-based disinfectants can do this. Therefore, in addition to the usual hygienic measures of protection against infection (for example, the sick person needs to separate dishes, towels, etc.), wipe all hard surfaces that are not in contact with food, chlorinated products. First of all - floors and plumbing, as well as other common objects: door handles, remotes, switches, telephone. For antiviral treatment, dilute half a cup of chlorine-containing substance in 4 l of water.
Keep in mind that most disinfectant wipes contain only an alcohol solution, so they are useless against noroviruses. Noroviruses can live on carpets for weeks. According to studies, if a patient is vomited on a carpet or upholstered furniture, it is more efficient to treat the infected area with steam than to wash it with powder or gel.
• Sleep for at least 7 hours. A full and good night's sleep restores strength and reduces the likelihood that you will wake up with a sore throat, cough or runny nose. But people who are chronically sleep deprived are more than 3 times more likely to experience stress and nervous exhaustion, which destructively affects immunity. As a study at the Royal Medical Institute of Stockholm showed, lack of sleep causes a sharp decrease in the activity of white blood cells (lymphocytes) - by almost 30%. Where to start a healthy lifestyle
“Lymphocytes are one of the very first levels of our body's defense against colds and flu viruses. They keep the infection under control until they begin to actively “understand” the fighting immune cells (immunocytes), ”explained Elinor Fondell, research supervisor.
• Stay away from coughing and sneezing. The results of a study by German doctors showed that colleagues who had close contact in the office with a flu-infected girl before she began to cough and sneeze did not get infected from her. And after the onset of a runny nose, only those who were at close range and talked with her for more than 15 minutes fell ill. This is not the only study that argues that “quiet peddlers” should not be afraid.
A team of researchers from the University of Hong Kong, Harvard, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention interviewed more than a thousand men and women during the 2008 flu epidemic and calculated that only 5–8% were infected from people without severe symptoms. So you should not play it safe too much and sit back at home, but if one of the colleagues and others blows his nose, sneezes and complains of a temperature or sore throat, then turn off the conversation and wave his hand, keeping his distance.
IN PUBLIC PLACES
• Be sure to wash your hands with soap several times when you go shopping, especially if after the shops you want to eat. Carry an antibacterial spray and handle your hands with it. However, studies by specialists from Emory University have shown that antibacterial hand gels with an alcohol content of 62–63% destroy only a small part of noroviruses, which cause gastrointestinal upsets.
But there is an effective way to deal with these "tenacious creatures": bacteria and viruses can be washed away physically from your hands - under a strong stream of water. Thoroughly soap your hands for 20 seconds (about the time it takes a line from the song “Happy Birthday to you” if you sing it twice), then rinse the soap thoroughly with warm water. Just be sure to use a paper towel to close the tap and open the door handle. This is how you can cleanse your hands of noroviruses and other infections before touching food that you eat with your hands (bun, sandwich) or a piece of pizza.
• Moisturize the nasopharynx. The probability of catching a cold during a flight is 23 times higher than in everyday life - a few years ago a special study was conducted on this topic with the participation of 1,100 air passengers. The blame is the excessively dry air in the cabin. “When the nasal mucosa dries up, the protective barrier to the virus disappears,” said one expert, Professor Martin Hawking of the University of Victoria in British Columbia.
By the way, in dry air, transmission of infection from passenger to passenger is accelerated. (The fact that ventilation works in the aircraft, as further observations have shown, does not improve the situation.) Therefore, try to protect the nasal mucosa from drying out with drops or nasal sprays based on sea salt solutions. At the very least, it will be much easier to breathe through your nose, and the chances of getting infected from colds will be reduced. And you can avoid unpleasant sensations due to drying of the nasopharynx.
Types of viral infections
• Flu. The main symptoms are a sharp onset of the disease, weakness, chills, fever (39 degrees and above), headache, aching muscles and joints. • Parainfluenza . Common cold symptoms plus a “barking” cough caused by inflammation of the larynx and trachea. The voice can become hoarse and even the gulf. Parainfluenza is often complicated by sinusitis. • Rhinovirus infection. Sneezing, a feeling of dryness and burning in the nasopharynx, sore throat, in the mouth - an unpleasant aftertaste. A little later, transparent mucus will flow from the nose into the tricuspid, although the state of health will be more or less tolerable. The temperature, as a rule, does not rise above 37 degrees. • Adenovirus infection. Fever, runny nose, sore throat, tonsil enlargement, difficulty swallowing. There may be slightly swollen lymph nodes. • Respiratory infection. Sore throat and trachea, severe dry cough or wet cough, sometimes “hard breathing.” Norovirus infection (acute intestinal infection) The main symptoms are nausea, abdominal and muscle pain, diarrhea, fever and chills are possible.