A dry cough, headache, high fever, fatigue, runny nose, muscle aches… We have to cope with such problems caused by the flu in winter, and stay in bed for days. What’s more, most of us do not take these symptoms serious enough to see a physician, thinking that they will go away in a few days without the realization of the flu can cause complications like bronchitis, sinusitis, ear infection, and pneumonia and even fatal complications in children and in patients with chronic diseases. In fact, with some simple measures, it is possible not to catch the disease at all or if we catch it we can get through it quickly and with smaller complications.

Walk at least 45 minutes weekly

Acıbadem Kozyatağı Hospital Internal Medicine Specialist Özlem Durmuş explains that a protective barrier against diseases can be created through mobility: “Immobility disrupts the resistance of the blood circulation and energy metabolism while indirectly decreasing the immune system’s strength by causing obesity and constipation. Take at least 7500 steps per day. Also, if possible, take time for 2 times a week for 45 minutes walking, fitness and jogging.”

Infections like anemia

“Our blood has a vital function to carry oxygen and nutrients to all parts of our body. Whatever the reason, if you have anemia you become susceptible to infections. The most common causes of anemia are iron, folic acid, and B12 deficiency. Especially women who are premenopausal, those who use multiple drugs and those with chronic systemic diseases should not neglect to have a blood count to check these values once a year.” 

Sleep 7 hours a day

“It is very important that you sleep 7 hours or more a day for a strong immune system. Stick to this sleep pattern including on weekends and avoid factors that may affect your sleep quality, such as alcohol, caffeine and late-night meals. You should consume at least 2 liters of water a day to prevent colds and flu. Since urine and stool are the only way to remove the toxins from the body, drinking plenty of water will also prevent constipation and also ease the cleaning of your bowel system.”


Unnecessary use of antibiotics weakens the body

Acıbadem University Atakent Hospital Pediatric Infectious Diseases Specialist Dr. Metehan Özen explains what should be done by those who have upper respiratory tract infection: “Children with upper respiratory tract infection have nasal discharge, nasal congestion, sore throat, voice change, weakness, sneezing, and a mild cough caused by postnasal drainage in two to three days after catching the virus. Complaints usually last for a week. Many children have an upper respiratory tract infection five to eight times a year. The immune systems of those who get sick more should be checked by a physician. Antibiotics kill bacteria but do not kill viruses that cause upper respiratory tract infections. The unnecessary use of antibiotics leads to the development of resistance in bacteria; they really don’t work when we need these drugs. For this reason, antibiotics should only be used when recommended by a physician.”

Warm shower to reduce fever

“The most important treatment is supportive treatment. These can be listed as follows: Increasing fluid intake, preventing exposure to cigarette smoke, cleaning and aspiration of the nose with saline, warm shower in case of over 38 degrees of body temperature, and giving a fever reducer.”

5 minutes of ventilation is preventive

Acıbadem Maslak Hospital Children’s Health and Diseases Specialist Çiğdem Yavrucu explains the ways to protect the children from the threatening diseases in winter: “Bacteria are spreading rapidly to the environment by means of droplets spread out to the environment through coughing and sneezing. The risks of contamination of these germs are very high in school-like indoor spaces. Therefore, indoor spaces should be ventilated for at least 5 minutes per hour and it is very important to fight infections. Take care to regularly ventilate the rooms in your home to prevent infections. You should adjust the heat of the house well and prevent the air from being too dry.”

Do not give up on dried navy beans and chickpeas

“Children should consume fish at least 2 times a week, red meat 2-3 times a week, legumes (dried beans, chickpeas lentils) 2-3 times a week. Eating eggs, cheese and olives every morning is also very important. Vegetables and fruits containing plenty of vitamins, especially oranges, mandarins, and pomegranates in the winter months as great sources of Vitamin C should be consumed daily. Probiotics such as calcium and protein-rich milk, home-made yogurt that strengthens our immune system, and kefir  should be essential foods.”

Ginger or turmeric with honey

“Ginger stimulates the immune system while preventing coughing and provides antioxidant properties. Turmeric also strengthens the immune system with antioxidants, vitamin C and vitamin E it contains, provides protection against diseases and resistance. Once daily, you can add 1 teaspoon fresh or powdered ginger or turmeric into 1 cup of milk or 1 dessert spoon honey (if you don’t have any allergies) to mix and make a paste. You can add 1 dessert spoon honey and 1 teaspoon powdered ginger into 1 cup of linden tea. However, it is not appropriate to feed these foods to children under 1-year-old.”