Monday, 2. March 2020
During the peak virus months, having a strong immune system is more important than ever. Stress reduction and eating a healthy diet help you keep your body’s defences in fighting shape. And of course regular, thorough hand washing is a must for preventing colds and flu at this time of year. And anyone who wants added protection should try to prevent their mucous membranes from drying out by using PARI inhalation devices and nebulisers to inhale water vapour.
Why is it so important to have a strong immune system? Because our immune systems are our most effective lines and natural of defence. This complex network made up of a different organs, cell types and protein complexes. When our immune systems are intact, they can successfully keep pathogens at bay and destroy microorganisms such as bacteria and viruses which may cause colds and even the flu. But when they are compromised, viruses and bacteria have an easy time of it, resulting in coughs, runny or congested noses, hoarseness, and even the flu.
There are many effects and forces that weaken our immune systems day in and day out. You are probably familiar with some of these influencing factors already, including the use of tobacco and alcohol, not getting enough exercise and a poor diet. Experiencing prolonged stress, due to work and other factors, also has a negative effect on the immune system. During these phases, people often don’t get enough sleep or sleep poorly when at least 7-8 hours a night are recommended. Instead of producing essential biological immune defences, the stress hormone adrenaline is produced. The body does this to save energy, making people more susceptible to infections.
When the body is exposed to harmful bacteria or viruses a healthy immune system normally can deal with them easily. One way you can help your immune system be resilient is to keep a stress diary to help identify stressful situations.
And exercising for 30 minutes a day five days a week not only gets you in better shape, it also raises your body temperature. This stimulates blood flow and activates the immune response. Alternating between hot and cold water when showering or doing a Kneipp water cure has an anti-inflammatory effect from the cold-temperature stimulus.
Our immune systems should be fed nutrients from fresh vegetables, fruit and whole meal products every day. Many foods also have an antibacterial effect. But fasting can also inhibit inflammation, helping protect us from colds. When people cut way down on carbohydrates and sugars, so-called ketone bodies are formed. Not only do they break down unneeded fat and levels of blood glucose, they also have an anti-inflammatory effect.
Advice from an expert
“Frequently hand washing with soap and warm water is the number one way to prevent colds”
Dr. Rosina Ledermüller, PARI
Cold, wet weather and spending time in heated rooms dry out the mucous membranes. When it’s cold out, there is less blood flow to the mucous membranes and infiltrating pathogens can cause illness. People who want to want to do more than build up their immune systems can also inhale water vapour. Inhaling saline solutions for colds and respiratory diseases is a tried-and-tested method to ease and prevent symptoms. Modern inhalation devices can disperse the saline solution into a fine aerosol mist, which is transported deep into the respiratory tract. This it gets to where it can help the most. The mist is distributed along the airways and can even get into the sinuses using pulsation. This is especially beneficial for patients who have chronic sinusitis. The PARI motto: Don’t just steam--mist! When you put your face over a pot of boiling water , the salt stays in pot, instead of getting into your airways. Ideally you should use saline solutions for inhalation with a modern inhalation device from PARI. For example, the PARI BOY Pro or the VELOX for lungs and bronchial tubes and the PARI SINUS for treating the sinuses. Inhaling correctly to treat respiratory diseases effectively and gently can be done by people of any age, from infants to seniors.
People often mistake a cold for the flu and vice versa. Why? Because the symptoms are very similar. One characteristic of the true flu or influenza is that the onset is usually very sudden and drastic, with one symptom being a high fever. Colds are more likely to develop very slowly. First you have a scratchy throat for a few days, then your nose itches. The flu caused by the influenza virus is just as contagious for other people as a “normal” cold.
Influenza is not that dangerous except in people who have compromised immune systems. The result can be pneumonia, myocarditis or encephalitis. Patients can also develop bronchitis. These illnesses can be particularly dangerous for seniors, pregnant women and people with chronic diseases. If these complications do not occur, most people with influenza at least stop running a temperature after a week. But the bothersome cough, runny nose, feeling of weakness and aching joints can last longer.
Read more about: Breathing alone is enough to get infected with the flu virus
An article written by the PARI BLOG editorial team.