Influenza is one of the dangerous viral infections. Every year, experts are waiting for it with some caution, and this year, severe strains are predicted at all. Therefore, many people think in advance – is it possible to somehow protect themselves and strengthen the immune system so as not to get on sick leave. About what rules will help protect yourself to the maximum, and what methods should not be adopted, told Director of the Therapeutic Clinic and Head of the Department of Therapy, Clinical Pharmacology and Emergency Medicine of the State Medical University. A. I. Evdokimova, professor, head of the educational organization for doctors of the ROO “Outpatient doctor”, Honored Worker of Science Arkady Vertkin.

Rule number one – wash your hands

Arkady Vertkin notes that the most elementary way to reduce infection with influenza and other acute respiratory viral infections is the usual hand washing. This must be done carefully and regularly throughout the day. “Try to wash your hands after traveling in transport, going to the store. You can carry antiseptic hand solutions with you – but do not get carried away with them too much, as you can dry out the skin. By the way, it will also be useful to wipe the phone. We often take it with dirty hands during the day,” advises Professor Vertkin.

Rule two – vaccination

Many are still wondering: is it worth getting vaccinated against the flu? Yes, of course, notes Arkady Vertkin. The effectiveness of the vaccine is 70-90%. It is especially important to vaccinate the most vulnerable categories of citizens: employees of pharmacies and hospitals, students of schools and universities, that is, people who often and a lot due to professional specifics have to contact people. Vaccination is also indicated for people suffering from somatic pathologies.

“Sometimes I hear such a stereotypical opinion – they say, what’s the point of getting vaccinated, because the virus mutates anyway. I want to note that influenza vaccines and their composition are reviewed annually, taking into account predicted mutations. And each year, a committee of WHO experts recommends a specific vaccine formulation that is closest to the type of influenza virus strains that are most likely to occur that season. Is it too late to get vaccinated? Not yet – the right time is September-October, ”recommends Arkady Vertkin.

It is important to remember, the doctor remarks, that the vaccine does not protect against influenza, but it reduces the likelihood of severe consequences of the disease, such as pneumonia, inflammation of the heart, and others.

Rule three – adjust your lifestyle

For prevention, Arkady Vertkin recommends drinking enough water, practicing gargling and rinsing the nose. It is especially important to pay attention to rinsing and washing after visiting crowded places.

“A very effective method is when a person stops smoking or at least limits the number of cigarettes smoked, since this bad habit leads to damage to the mucous membranes, which makes it easier for viruses to enter and move through these lesions. Alcohol should also be excluded or limited, as it is an immunosuppressive factor, i.e. a factor that reduces and boosts immunity, ”notes Arkady Vertkin.

It is very important to monitor your own health, especially if you have chronic diseases – the body spends its resources on them and can weaken during a viral attack. So it is worth treating them before the arrival of the epidemic season, taking them under control.

Popular tips from the net

There is a lot of advice on the Internet on the topic of strengthening immunity and preventing the flu. However, not all of them are effective.

Do vitamins help?

Taking a multivitamin does not guarantee that you will not get sick. Vitamins do not have any specific antiviral effect. But they can help boost your immune system. Special attention should be paid to such representatives as vitamins D, K, C.

Should I smear my nose with oxolin ointment before going outside?

No one has proven that lubricating the mucous membranes with oxolin ointment will help reduce the likelihood of getting a viral infection.

Do you need to harden?

There are many options for hardening the body, says Professor Vertkin. The most popular are water procedures: baths, saunas, dousing with cold water, contrast showers and others. “But everything is very individual. The mode, temperature, volume and methods of hardening should definitely be discussed with your doctor, as there are a number of restrictions and contraindications for people with some kind of chronic diseases, for example, the same hypertension. The main thing when hardening is not to get the opposite effect and not exacerbate a chronic disease. Now it’s too late to harden, it’s better to try next year, ”warns Arkady Vertkin.

What diet to follow?

The diet should be vitamin. These are juices, fruits, berries and vegetables, it is very good to use sauerkraut, it is useful at any age and at any time of the year.

Do I need to take probiotics and prebiotics?

Taking these drugs does not have a preventive effect on fighting viruses.

Do I need to control the humidity in my home?

Yes, this parameter should be controlled, notes Professor Vertkin. The heating season has begun, and dry air dries out the mucous membrane, and it becomes more vulnerable. Virus resistance is weakening. Therefore, feel free to humidify the air in the apartment to the optimal parameters – 40-60%.