Common cold, flu, throat infection, norovirus diarrhea, acute bronchitis, allergic asthma, pneumonia and sinusitis… Every season brings its own diseases. The increase in upper and lower respiratory tract infections is seen most frequently in the autumn season. As our body struggles to adapt to this change as we move from hot summer days to cool weather, diseases begin to knock on our door! Acıbadem Kozyatağı Hospital Internal Medicine and Nephrology Specialist Prof. Dr. Tevfik Rıfkı Evrenkaya stated that cold weather suppresses our immune system and breaks our resistance to infections, and said, “As a result, most of us catch many microbial diseases during seasonal transitions. Especially viral infections are easily transmitted and this can cause serious problems for the elderly, young children and people with weakened immune systems. A strong immune system plays a key role in protecting against diseases that increase in autumn. It is possible to be protected from autumn diseases to a large extent by making simple adjustments in our living habits. Internal Medicine and Nephrology Specialist Prof. Dr. Tevfik Rıfkı Evrenkaya listed the precautions we need to take to protect against autumn-specific infectious diseases; made important recommendations and warnings.
Mask and social distance are required: In order to prevent the transmission of viruses and bacteria, take care to use masks in closed areas, and always maintain a distance of 1.5 meters between you and other people.
Hygiene is very important: Keep your living space clean and tidy due to the increased risk of virus and bacteria contamination in dirty environments.
Ventilate your room: Ventilating the room increases the oxygen concentration in the environment, thereby destroying anaerobic organisms, that is, cellular respiration bacteria in oxygen-free environments. Therefore, ventilate the room you are in for 2 minutes twice a day.
Do not be in crowded environments: Avoid spending time in crowded environments, as viruses and bacteria can be easily transmitted.
Do not rub your eyes: Viruses and bacteria; It enters our body through the mouth, nose and eyes. Therefore, after touching a place with your hands; Do not touch your mouth and nose, do not rub your eyes.
Make sure to wash your hands: Wash your hands thoroughly for 20 seconds as soon as you come from outside, after using the toilet, and before eating and preparing food.
Disinfect often: Clean your toilets frequently with disinfectants. Also regularly disinfect doorknobs, countertops, doorways and other frequently touched surfaces.
Take a shower when you come from outside: Outside, your face, hands, body and hair are now transmitted by many microorganisms. Therefore, after spending time outside, take a shower at home.
Gargle with hot – salt water: Bad mucus that accumulates in the throat, that is, secretions, causes us to get sick by forming plugs or creating suitable host areas. To get rid of bad mucus, it is useful to gargle with hot-salt water 2 times a day. Repeating the same process when you get sick will help you recover quickly.
Use saline spray: The moisture of our nose traps microorganisms in the breathing air like a trap. Keep your nose moist with saline sprays. You can do this every day, morning and evening, during the autumn and winter seasons.
Vitamin C essential: The most important feature of vitamin C is that it strengthens the immune system. Consume fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C such as oranges, lemons, tangerines, pomegranates, rose hips, green peppers, parsley, arugula, spinach and cauliflower regularly.
Let your water be warm, not cold: Mucosa is a membrane-like structure that covers the inner surface of the respiratory and digestive system and secretes mucus. It has an important function such as fighting against infections with the IgA type antibodies it secretes. Avoid drinking cold water and soft drinks, as they reduce the resistance of the mucous membranes in the respiratory tract. Hot and warm liquids do not reduce the resistance of your mucosa.
Drink fluids often: The secretions of the respiratory tract mucosa secrete peptide, in other words, many substances in protein structure that prevent microorganisms from settling in these areas. The presence of these substances in a thin film layer in the respiratory tract strengthens the defense mechanisms. However, insufficient fluid intake causes thickening of peptide substances, and as a result, the defense functions of the mucosa are impaired. Therefore, by drinking plenty of fluids every day, for example by drinking at least 2 liters of water a day, keep the secretions in these areas thin.
Beware of allergies: Allergies are diseases in which substances such as dust and pollen, which are not a serious health threat, occupy our immune system in vain. Avoid eating foods you are allergic to, so as not to preoccupy your immune system with issues that are not truly threatening.
Cook the fish thoroughly: Norovirus, which is responsible for a significant portion of diarrhea in adults and children, can survive at temperatures up to 60 degrees Celsius. Especially uncooked seafood (such as sushi) can act as a host for this virus. Therefore, take care to cook seafood thoroughly.
NUTRITIONAL SUPPORTS AND VITAMINS
Put honey in your tea: Drinking tea by adding honey to it supports your immunity and gives energy. You can drink a glass of tea with honey a day. One teaspoon of honey contains 15 kcal, and if you have diabetes, you can consume this amount of honey, provided it is 'real honey'.
Take advantage of herbal teas: A cup of warm fennel herb can help your immunity. In addition, it is stated that rosehip, black elderberry and echinacea are effective in preventing viral diseases.
Vitamin C, D and zinc are important: It is beneficial to take this trio regularly during the Covid-19 pandemic, as vitamins C and D and zinc support our immunity.
Eat enough and balanced diet: Adequate and balanced nutrition plays a key role in a strong immune system.
Get rid of stress: Keep your stress level low as it is one of the important factors that weaken our immune system.
Pay attention to sleep: Regular sleep plays an extremely important role in keeping the immune system strong. According to the studies; People who sleep less than 6 hours a day are about 7 times more likely to catch a cold than people who sleep more than 4 hours.
Do not use jointly: Do not share drinks, food and utensils, especially with sick people, to prevent transmission of viruses and bacteria.
Quit smoking now: The substances in the cigarette and its smoke cause damage to the protective layer in the airway. As a result, viruses and bacteria can easily enter our body from these damaged places. Quit smoking, stay away from smoking environments.
Dress in multiple layers: In cold weather, take care to dress in thick or multiple layers. Compared to a thick single-layer sweater, 2 shirts worn on top of each other provide more protection from cold weather. The reason for this is that the air between the liners provides a very good insulation.
Internal Medicine and Nephrology Specialist Prof. Dr. Tevfik Rıfkı Evrenkaya said, “Vaccination is the most rational way to be protected from infections and epidemics. Reminding that the vaccine keeps you alive”, “Do not neglect the seasonal flu vaccine. If you are over the age of 65, you should definitely get the seasonal flu vaccine and the pneumonia vaccine every 5 years. In order to protect yourself from Covid-19 infection, make sure to get your vaccinations according to the instructions of the Ministry of Health.