Winter is the most common season for contagious illnesses because the flu virus thrives in colder and drier air. But in this winter, not only do we have to protect ourselves from colds and influenza, we also protect against the coronavirus disease. Colds and influenza are going to be circulating alongside Covid-19, so we need to do something to stay healthy during cold and flu season and the pandemic. So how can we prepare?
The symptoms of flu, colds, and Covid-19 are similar
Flu, cold and coronavirus often share certain symptoms like coughing and sniffling, but differences in the speed of transmission and how they appear can offer clues to determine which one is causing the illness.
Influenza has a shorter median incubation period (the time from infection to appearance of symptoms) and a shorter serial interval (the time between successive cases) than COVID-19 virus. The serial interval for COVID-19 virus is estimated to be 5-6 days, while for influenza virus, the serial interval is 3 days. This means that influenza can spread faster than COVID-19.
Don’t expect any chart or rule of thumb to be able to authoritatively tell the difference between a cold and COVID. Testing will be important to tell the difference between COVID and other respiratory infections. Remember, even though colds are less deadly than COVID, if you have a cold, flu or COVID, get in touch with a local doctor for advice and care.
Masks and distancing protect us from colds and flu, too
It recommends that people wear a face covering or mask to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in addition to social or physical distancing, frequent handwashing, and other preventive actions. Since face masks can limit the spread of Covid-19, they may reduce our risk of catching and spreading other diseases as well.
Support your immune system, but not with supplements
Your immune helps fight and protect the body from disease and illness, so it’s necessary to naturally boost your immune system. Many products claim to give your immune system the boost, but those claims are mostly garbage.
Experts say approach immune system supplements with caution. “Vitamins B6, C and E have been shown to help boost your immune system,” Andrea Hansen, PA-C, UnityPoint Health, says. “If you are lacking some of these vitamins, a supplement could help support your immune system. But, your body can only absorb so much of any vitamin in a given day. So, if you are taking too many of these vitamins, you’re going to get rid of the extra in your urine. Supplements can cause side effects as well.”
Many scientific studies have shown that people are least likely to get sick when they’re well-rested, well-fed and not terribly stressed. Researchers also say getting good sleep can strengthen your immune system because the quality of sleep can bolster the T cells in your body that fight off infection.That’s the reason why a good night’s sleep is always important for a healthy immune system.
Here are some useful tips that you should adapt to boost your immune system:
- Don’t smoke.
- Eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables.
- Exercise regularly.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation.
- Get adequate sleep.
- Take steps to avoid infection, such as washing your hands frequently and cooking meats thoroughly.
- Try to minimize stress.
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