In Russia, for the first time in three years, two waves of morbidity coincided: Covid and flu.
Photo: Oksana ZUYKO
In Russia, for the first time in three years, two waves of morbidity coincided: Covid and flu. This was announced by the head of Rospotrebnadzor, Anna Popova. What this is related to, who is at risk and how we can protect ourselves from two complex infections, allergist and immunologist Vladimir Bolibok told Komsomolskaya Pravda.
The reason is that we have not had the flu for the previous three years. This was influenced by the strict anti-Covid measures, which prevented the flu from leaving its natural focus (Southeast Asia, China in particular) and reaching Russia. But now the flu has hit us.
– It is difficult to say whether people will suffer from both infections at the same time, but it is possible. Another option is that infections can develop sequentially, one after another. The transmission channel for both flu and covid is the same. These are acute respiratory viral infections that are transmitted by airborne droplets. Therefore, the same methods and places of infection that work for Covid are also relevant for influenza, says Vladimir Bolibok.
The risk of contracting both infections is especially high on public transport (minibuses, buses, metro), especially at rush hour; From this point of view, elevators are not safe either. So here, if you have the strength and the opportunity, it is better to go up the stairs or not ride a stuck elevator, but wait for a freer one. How not to get on a crowded subway car or a minibus, where there are already people like sardines in a barrel.
The chances of infection are now high in daycare centers, schools, universities, clinics and offices.
“The small spaces where children and adults from different families meet “nose to nose” are very conducive to the exchange of infections,” says our expert. – Pharmacies, cinemas, sports clubs and gyms during an epidemic can also be places that contribute to the spread of infection.
WHO IS AT RISK?
Everyone gets sick from both the flu and coronavirus. Currently, the risk group for contracting influenza includes children under 3-4 years old who have not yet encountered this infection in their lives.
“Your flu immune system is completely naïve. This is a medical term, young children’s immune cells don’t know what the flu is or how to fight it. People with chronic diseases such as diabetes, obesity and chronic gastritis are also under attack. A special risk group is older people, over 60 years old, the doctor warns.
SPECIAL PURPOSE: WHY MEN GET SICKER FROM THE FLU AND COVID?
Men suffer more from the flu and coronavirus than women, and the older the man is, the more dangerous the disease can be for him.
— This is a characteristic of the immune response associated with the hormonal system. Women have higher levels of estrogen, which helps produce antibodies better and these antibodies penetrate the cells better and the virus enters the cells. True, this feature has a drawback: women more often suffer from autoimmune diseases (thyroid and joints). In men, innate immunity comes into play more, but with age it weakens, says Vladimir Bolibok.
HOW TO TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF?
– masks and respirators become relevant during the epidemic,
– no need to enter crowded transport and premises,
– regularly ventilate the room,
– if you are sick, you do not need to go to work in the office, it is better to ask for time off to work remotely (if possible),
– children with signs of infection (runny nose, cough) should not be sent to school or daycare,
– wash your face and hands regularly, the virus can settle on the skin,
– If possible, use individual utensils.
WILL THE FROST HELP US?
– Frosty and relatively sunny weather indicates that the air outside and inside is dry. Our heating is good and in my office the humidity has now dropped to 20%, even though it was 50% in summer. This leads to the fact that aerosols containing viral particles dry very quickly; Viruses “don’t like this.” The most favorable climate for coronavirus is +2 – +7 and humidity, and it “lives” longer on plastic and metal. So the current climate is not conducive for the virus to survive in the external environment, which does not change the fact that sneezing indoors will not save from infection. The drop will hit you in a fraction of a second and then the coronavirus will be more contagious than the flu. The Omicron subspecies coronavirus (and its variants) has even surpassed measles in terms of contagion, says the doctor.
! If possible, it would be good to now use devices for air disinfection – recirculators, which significantly reduce the amount of viruses in the air.
MAYBE I SHOULD TRY IMMUNOMODULATORS?
– I am against the massive use of immunomodulators without examination. For example, for women over a certain age, this carries the risk of causing autoimmune diseases. The safest thing is to carry out fortification with multivitamins registered in Russia, which can be purchased at the pharmacy. It is important that they contain a variety of vitamins within the recommended doses; excessive fortification is also not beneficial. On the package you can see the percentage of vitamins and minerals, and it should not exceed the recommended daily dose (the abbreviation RDI on the package is the recommended daily intake), says Vladimir Bolibok.