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Preventing Acute Respiratory Infection

on July 06, 2020

With the Ministry of Health (MOH) in Singapore recently announcing plans to expand COVID19 testing to Acute Respiratory Infection (ARI) patients aged 45 and above[1], the spotlight has firmly been on ARI. ARI is ranked as one of the most common diseases, but with COVID19 at large, there’s a greater need to take precautionary measures to contract ARI. In this article, we look at three ways to reduce the risks of ARI.

 

What is ARI?

ARI is a disease that impairs breathing. It starts from the upper respiratory tract (from sinuses to vocal cords), and if left untreated, could spread to the lower respiratory tract (from vocal cords to lungs). A person with ARI might experience common cold symptoms like cough, runny nose and sore throat initially. More severe symptoms are dizziness, high fever and a loss of consciousness[2]. As there are several causes for ARI, it is best to go to a doctor for a diagnosis and treatment.

 

Who is at risk?

Young children and seniors are more susceptible. Children have narrower airways, so the effect of any inflammation is magnified. Seniors might have pre-existing conditions such as lung or heart disease, which elevates the risk[3]. This explains MOH’s initial focus for COVID19 testing on ARI patients in the following categories: seniors aged 65 and above, and children from the age of 13 onwards.

 

Ways to improve respiratory health

  1. Eat healthy


Foods rich in Vitamins C, B6 and E help to boost the immune system. Dietary supplements are also encouraged. For instance, Immune+ strengthens your immunity by using seven key ingredients, of which Vitamin C is one.
It is particularly important to have a healthy and consistent intake of Vitamin C because the body doesn’t have the capacity to store it. That is to say that it gets flushed out of the system, given its water-soluble nature. Examples of Vitamin C rich food are oranges, spinach, broccoli[4].

 

  1. Exercise regularly

 Cardio exercise is very important

Exercise strengthens one’s lungs and respiratory health. The heart pumps oxygen to the lungs at a faster rate upon exercise, thereby making the lungs work more actively. Additionally, a Cochrane Systematic Review has proven that regular exercise can reduce the severity of ARI symptoms[5], thus suggesting a robustness to the respiratory system.

 

  1. Exercise good hygiene

  • Wash your hands with water and soap after coming back from a public space.
    You don’t know what virus or bacteria your hands have come in contact with, so be sure to make washing thoroughly a habit.

Wash your hands with soap

 

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
    These are the areas that pathogens enter the body through.
  • Wear a mask.
    ARI is usually airborne and contagious. A mask reduces the spread of the virus by preventing inhalation of respiratory droplets from infected personnel.

    Conclusion

    ARI is a common disease especially children and the elderly are susceptible to. However, you can mitigate the risk of infection by eating healthy foods, exercising regularly and practicing good hygiene.

    If you have any questions about the topic, feel free to ask in the comment section below

     

    Disclaimer

    This blog post is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. The views and nutritional advice expressed are not intended for the purpose of providing medical advice. Please always consult your health care provider if you are experiencing any medical conditions. All content on this page has been thoroughly reviewed. Nevertheless, no liability can be accepted for the completeness and accuracy of the information.

     

     

     References

    [1]        CNA. 2020, June 19. Patients aged 45 and above with acute respiratory infection will be tested for COVID-19: MOH. Retrieved July 01, 2020, from
    https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/covid-19-acute-respiratory-infection-expanded-testing-moh-12849290

    [2]           Healthline Team. 2019, January 24. Acute Respiratory Infection. Retrieved July 01, 2020, from
                  https://www.healthline.com/health/acute-respiratory-disease

    [3]        Air Pollutants and Health Effects. (n.d.). Retrieved July 01, 2020, from https://www.sparetheair.org/understanding-air-quality/air-pollutants-and-health-effects/whos-at-risk

    [4]        Spiridakis, N. 2019, November 12. Foods That Help Chest Infections. Retrieved July 01, 2020, from https://www.livestrong.com/article/384503-foods-that-help-heal-chest-infections/

    [5]        CEBM. 2020, May 28. Does physical exercise prevent or treat acute respiratory infection (ARI)? Retrieved July 01, 2020, from
    https://www.cebm.net/covid-19/does-physical-exercise-prevent-or-treat-acute-respiratory-infection-ari/