Healthy lifestyle

Prevention of influenza and SARS

Prevention of influenza and SARS has many methods. Many people do not share these diseases, as well as SARS and ARI, this is not entirely true. SARS is a respiratory disease that has an exclusively viral nature. If respiratory diseases are bacterial in nature, they do not apply to SARS. Statistics show that in most cases, respiratory (colds) are initially caused by viruses. Although bacteria can also later join viruses, settle on the mucous membranes, respiratory tract and continue their destructive activity, which contributes to the weakened immune system as a result of the invasion of viruses.

The main viruses that cause ARVI are parainfluenza viruses, adenoviruses, rhinoviruses, enteroviruses. As for the flu, then formally it can also be attributed to SARS, as this disease is also caused by the virus. However, due to the high degree of risk of influenza, this disease is considered separately. And the prevention of influenza should be carried out with particular seriousness.

Prevention measures fall into two categories – specific and non-specific. Specific prevention of influenza and SARS is aimed at blocking infection with influenza and SARS viruses. Non-specific prevention of influenza and SARS includes General measures to prevent the spread of various respiratory diseases, not necessarily caused by viruses.

The main methods of prevention are:

  • taking antiviral drugs,
  • administration of immunomodulatory drugs,
  • vaccination,
  • wearing masks,
  • diet,
  • hardening and strengthening the body
  • hygiene,
  • avoid crowded areas during epidemics.

Let us examine in more detail all these methods. Not all of them are suitable for the prevention of all types of viral diseases. Some of them are aimed exclusively at fighting the influenza virus.


Prevention of influenza and SARS with the help of drugs is much less effective and safe than it is commonly believed, and has many limitations. Therefore, it should not be considered as the main one. The reasons for this situation will be discussed below.

Medicines designed to fight influenza and SARS, can be divided into several categories:

  • etiotropic preparations (direct action),
  • immunomodulators,
  • symptomatic preparations.

Etiotropic preparations

Etiotropic drugs act directly on viruses, killing them, or making it impossible to reproduce them. It should be noted immediately that at this time there are no effective etiotropic drugs aimed at the prevention of ARVI (not influenza). With some reservations to this category can be attributed except that Arbidol. All other drugs of this group (oseltamivir (Tamiflu), relenza, peramivir, remantadine) are effective only against influenza viruses. However, the prevention of influenza with their help is undesirable due to the high toxicity of these drugs. In other words, the potential benefits of etiotropic drugs are unlikely to exceed the harm they will cause to the body with their constant use.

Etiotropic drugs are intended only for use in the initial period of influenza. They help the body fight the virus and reduce the time of the disease. Therefore, the prevention of influenza with their help can be justified only if there is a very high probability of influenza infection (for example, in the presence of a patient with influenza in the family), and then for an extremely short period.


Recently, in our country there was a General fashion for immunomodulators, such as Grippferon, Viferon, Kagocel and many others, which increase immunity and stimulate the production of special substances – interferon, fighting viral infection. In addition, this type of drugs is relatively inexpensive compared to etiotropic drugs.

However, many immunologists warn against uncontrolled use of these drugs, especially for preventive purposes. This is due to the fact that the immunity, supported by these drugs, in the long term is not strengthened, but rather destroyed, because it ceases to work independently and turn on when infectious agents appear, and waits for external stimuli.

Thus, the prevention of influenza and SARS with the help of immunomodulatory drugs and drugs with interferon should be used only for special indications – if a person really has a low level of immunity. And this should be established by means of a special examination of the immune system, and not derived from the conclusions of the type: “I or my child is often sick with the flu, so I need to drink this or that fashionable advertised flu medicine.”

Symptomatic drugs

The third category of drugs used for the treatment of influenza and SARS is antipyretic and analgesic drugs containing paracetamol, ibuprofen and aspirin. Thanks to aggressive advertising, they are also often perceived as a means for effective prevention of SARS and influenza. Meanwhile, it is simply unacceptable to use them as such. Not only that, the prevention of influenza and SARS with their help is completely meaningless, because they do not affect any viruses or the human immune system, it is also extremely dangerous. Drugs such as paracetamol and Aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) with long-term use have a negative effect on the liver, and Aspirin, in addition, can cause internal bleeding and exacerbation of chronic stomach diseases. Children under 12 years Aspirin is generally contraindicated because of the high risk of incurable complications associated with the liver.


Thus, in the prevention of influenza and SARS rely on miraculous pills is not necessary. What remains to be done in this case? Fortunately, there are other ways. In particular, the flu epidemic is a reliable preventive measure are vaccinations. They are intended for the formation of persistent immunity to the virus causing the disease. However, this method also has drawbacks, the main of which is that the current vaccinations protect only from influenza viruses, and not from viruses that cause SARS. However, the effectiveness of this method of preventing influenza is quite high and in some cases can reach 80-90%.

Vaccinations have other disadvantages:

  • some contraindications-severe diseases of the lungs, heart, kidneys, susceptibility to allergies;
  • they can not be done for children under six months (vaccinations of some types – up to 3 years);
  • immunity, formed by vaccination, relatively short – lived-from six months to a year (depending on the type of vaccine).

Non-specific prevention measures

Prevention of influenza and SARS includes other methods. In particular, recently gained wide popularity gauze bandages, which are designed to protect the wearer of their human respiratory tract from viruses during the flu epidemic. How effective are they? There are different points of view in this regard. Some experts believe that the benefits of them are small, if not-zero. The fact is that viruses are so small that they can easily penetrate through the tissue of the bandage and get into the nasal passages.

Quite another thing-when such a mask is a person with the flu or SARS. In such a case, when coughing or sneezing, droplets of saliva or sputum will settle on the mask, and not fly to the sides, which will protect people next to the patient from infection by viruses. In addition, unfortunately, not everyone knows that masks are disposable items, and after three or four hours of wearing they are to be replaced, otherwise they themselves become an object that spreads viruses and microbes.

In an influenza epidemic, limiting contact with a large number of people is a reasonable preventive solution. For example, you should avoid large crowded shops and Department stores, markets, sports and social events, meetings, etc. Should be smaller to travel by public transport. If you see a person coughing and sneezing, it’s better to stay away from that person. Parents should also consider limiting their child’s contact with peers. Of course, if the school or kindergarten is not quarantined for the disease, the child must go to a children’s institution. However, care should be taken to ensure that the child would not go during the epidemic to visit, to some events, would travel less in public transport.

In most cases, influenza and ARVI viruses are spread by airborne droplets. However, many do not suspect that viruses can persist on objects and surfaces around us for several hours. Therefore, in the flu epidemic to prevent infection, it is necessary to maintain the necessary cleanliness in the house and observe personal hygiene. After coming home, you should always wash your hands with soap. It is also advisable to regularly rinse your mouth and throat with soda solutions. Nasal cavity washing can also serve as an additional guarantee of protection against viruses. It is no secret that viruses can not immediately enter the respiratory tract, but settle on the surface of the mucous membrane of the nasal passages and on the hairs lining the nasal passages. To clean the nose, it is desirable to use moisturizing drops with sea salt. In the absence of such solutions can be dispensed with washing the nasal passages with conventional soap.

Health promotion, sports and hardening of the body, nutrition-this is also an important way to prevent influenza and other infectious diseases. Also, do not forget that viruses, as the heroes of the popular Comedy said, “are developing particularly rapidly in the body weakened by nicotine, alcohol and excesses of bad.” You should follow a balanced diet, eat enough vitamins, especially vitamin C. It is no secret that in winter and spring their number in our food is small. If necessary, vitamin complexes should be taken. It is also worth paying attention to the maintenance of the daily routine and rest – because a good sleep, rest and lack of fatigue – it is also the key to a strong immune system.

However, it should be well understood that fruits and vegetables do not have a miraculous magic that can protect us from any ailments, and do not turn prevention into absurdity. For example, the legend is still alive, according to which the child from the flu can protect the head of garlic, hung on his neck. Needless to say, this is a completely meaningless action – garlic, despite its some useful properties, has absolutely no antiviral effect, and inhaling the aroma of garlic will not help prevent the flu.

From all of the above we can conclude-absolutely reliable means of prevention that can protect us from influenza and SARS, does not exist. Almost any person at least once in his life suffers from respiratory diseases, and there is nothing wrong. However, to reduce the likelihood of infection with a dangerous virus is real.

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