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12 January 2021

Boost your immune health!

Non-standard solutions to help protect yourself during the pandemic

Text by: Mariana Kapsuletskaia
Photo: Denis Kuznetsov, Shutterstock

Nowadays immunity is more important than ever. But it looks as if it gets more and more challenging to strengthen it. Anastasiya Ryabchenko, a Managing Director of “Rosapteka” pharmacy chain, explains what to do not to go crazy with fear, but to take reasonable care of immune protection in the face of the pandemic.

Anastasiya Ryabchenko, a Managing Director of “Rosapteka” pharmacy chain



We are in an extraordinary situation. It is a pandemic of a new, not yet fully understood disease. And in the meantime, it is a season of “usual” acute respiratory viral infections. In the current context, strong immunity is particularly important. Not merely because of COVID-19, but also because of secondary infections. In this case the therapy will be more complicated, and the disease progression is more dangerous. But at the same time, we have a whole list of objective factors that make it difficult to keep immunity system strong. I name them not to threaten anyone, but to specify what we are dealing with:

As a result of quarantine restrictions we walk less. Especially people who work from home. If previously they had to move out of necessity: on their way to work, at work, then now their main walking route is from the sofa to the refrigerator

Stress. It is a powerful immunosuppressive factor. Persistent state of anxiety due to the news about COVID-19, fear of getting sick, worries if someone close to you is sick.

Sedentary lifestyle. As a result of quarantine restrictions we walk less. Especially people who work from home. If previously they had to move out of necessity: on their way to work, at work, then now their main walking route is from the sofa to the refrigerator.

Excess weight. We gain weight due to stress, sedentary lifestyle, and food availability. During the first wave of the pandemic the scientists estimated, that nearly everybody put on weight on lockdown. And obesityis one of the risk factors for COVID-19.

Stuffiness, close air. We are not used to spending a lot of time at home and forget to open the windows to air the premises and use wet sweeping at home. This affects the concentration of viral infections.

Vitamin deficiency. It is cold and dark outside. People lack vitamin D, which is synthesized in the skin under the sunlight. And foods rich in fast-digesting carbohydrates that we comfort eat, are low in vitamin C, which is an essential nutrient for immune system.

The news of COVID-19 can trigger stress and anxiety

Stress can affect all family members


Write down, please:

  • Vitamins С, D, and Zink to strengthen immune system
  • Magnesium and B-group vitamins to aid the nervous system
  • Herbal nervines for insomnia
  • Interferon nasal drops to increase tissue immunity
  • A sanitizer in your pocket, and a face mask on your face

I would divide all “anti-crisis measures” into two groups. The first is all about physiological measures. Keep regular hours, do morning physical exercises for 10−15 minutes, air out the apartment 2–3 times a day, prepare healthy meals from fresh products. If possible, walk outdoors

The second group is exactly my area of expertise: how to make an immune -enhancing home first aid kit. The first thing is to eliminate the conditions that compromise the natural defense system. If we are talking about vitamin deficiency, then pay attention to vitamins C and D, as well as Zinc: most immune-boosting complexes contain these elements. Magnesium in combination with B-group vitamins will help to improve the nervous system in case of nervousness and anxiety. If you develop an insomnia of stress, try herbal nervines — ​valerian, motherwort, peony, linden — ​as tea or in drops. 8–9 hours of sleep a dayis a must !

As for immunomodulators, they should only be taken as prescribed by a doctor. An exception — herbal substances of mild effect: echinacea, ginger, and black mountain ash. And the medications that strengthen tissue immunity: these are mainly interferon nasal drops and sprays. The fact is that viruses enter our body through the mucous membrane, and such drugs set up a barrier to infection (important: this does not cancel wearing medical face masks and/ or respirators). For indoor air disinfection and to help with breathing, you can use essential oils: tea tree oil, eucalyptus oil, and conifer oils — ​add them to aroma lamps or apply them to surfaces in your home.

A self-isolation can be “active” too!

We must not forget that the main source of vitamins is the foods we eat



The main thing is not to panic. We have such a kind of “pharmacy superstition”: if they say on TV that a certain drug helps to treat coronavirus, the next day we will see people queuing for this drug. The trouble is not that people buy the unnecessary medicines “for future use”, creating a shortage of it. It is much worse when they start taking them “just in case” and ruin their health. This applies to drugs that are really used for COVID-19 treatment and to hypothetical antibiotics, which people, frightened by the pandemic, ask at our pharmacies “for prevention of illness”.

Another hot-button issue: many new modern immunomodulators have appeared recently. On the one hand, it's good -it means the medicine is developing. On the other hand — the buyers are tempted to use them to “boost” the immune system. But it is important to keep in mind that  preventive care is one thing, and the treatment is another. And such drugs are taken only as prescribed by a doctor. Otherwise, you can achieve the opposite effect: to stimulate the immune system at the wrong time and weaken the protection when it is really needed.

Pharmaceutical preparations are an addition to the complex of measures to bolster immunity


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