Ludmila Kozlova: “Influenza vaccine halves the number of cases”
The epidemic of influenza is coming to an end in Moscow. According to Rospotrebnadzor, on February 1-7th the number of cases reduced by 5.8 percent in comparison with the previous week. The disease rate is higher than the epidemiological boundary by 13.6 percent; last week it was 31.4 percent. However, the problem of influenza appears in Russia every year. Vestnik Kavkaza continues the series of programs ‘Ask Doctor Kozlova.’ Honored Doctor of the Russian Federation, Honored Scientist, Professor and Doctor of Medical Sciences, deputy chairwoman of the Federation Council Committee on Social Policy, the senator from the Smolensk Region, Ludmila Kozlova, answers questions of readers and listeners of Vestnik Kavkaza.
- How do you feel about the initiative to fully pay sick leave during the period of the epidemic? How likely is it that this initiative will be discussed and adopted in the near future, while there is still an influenza epidemic?
- The epidemic has covered 47 regions and there is a trend towards recession. The initiative makes sense, but it is simply impossible in the current socio-economic situation. Therefore, the initiative will stay as an initiative, but it can be adopted for the future. There will be a broad discussion with the participation of not only deputies and senators, but with the participation of the Ministry of Finance, the governing agencies and so on, this is a usual process, and I think that even if it is adopted for the future, it will work during some epidemic.
- The epidemic has slowed down, but it continues. What preventive measures would you recommend for adults and children during the epidemic?
- The most efficient is vaccination. Vaccination may not save you from the disease itself, but even if you get sick, the disease will be light and without complications. And it means there will be no deaths. Among the dead, almost all were not vaccinated. Only a third of the population is vaccinated against influenza. It is proved that the influenza vaccine halves the incidence of the disease.
The influenza vaccine is complemented by the inclusion of new strains of influenza each year. There is a special organization that analyses and predicts the future of epidemics. Therefore, it is necessary to be vaccinated every year.
- What can be done apart from vaccination?
- The main course is non-specific prevention. It is not necessary to wait for an epidemic. On the contrary, it is necessary to immediately restrict the visiting of public events – no guests, no games with children. This year, students were sent into quarantine in advance. This has helped largely to lower the spread of infections.
People get sick because the immune system is weakened. So anything that enhances immunity is needed, the regime should be active, walking outdoors is necessary. If someone from the household is sick, contact with them should be avoided not only by children. The patient should have separate dishes, a separate towel. And when he is contacted, after any such contact be sure to wash your hands thoroughly, and even to rinse the nasal passages. This will help again not to get sick, even when there is a sick person at home.
Of course, we must not forget about traditional medicine. These are garlic, onion, where there is a very large number of volatile production, and they have a truly healing effect and stimulate the immune system. Garlic and onions should not be given if your child has an allergy or gastritis. You can give it to him after a sandwich with butter, when there is a protection of the stomach lining. But in order not to risk it, better let a child breathe garlic.
Next, drink plenty of water. If a child is younger than 10 years, he should drink 1.5-2 liters per day. But this does not mean to force him to drink.
What to drink? Berry fruit drinks: cranberries, blueberry, rosehip tea. If you have an allergy, it usually freshly brewed weak tea, still water. It can be stewed fruit, make it from those fruits that are not allergenic. Herbal medicine helps very much.
And, of course, there must be a mood in the family. It is necessary to explain to a child that if someone is sick, a child shouldn’t have contact with the sick person.