The best way to prevent an upper respiratory infection is to avoid the virus from the beginning through simple steps, such as: regular hand washing, exercise, avoiding poorly ventilated areas and proximity to sick people Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: Doctors advise patients to receive the seasonal flu vaccine this month to avoid upper respiratory tract infections that are known to increase by 25 per cent with changing weather conditions.

Symptoms of an upper respiratory infection and a seasonal flu include, a stuffy nose, throat and face pain, loss of appetite, tiredness, headache, high temperature, and shivering with a cold sensation.

While the best way to prevent an upper respiratory infection is to avoid the virus from the beginning through simple steps, such as: regular hand washing, exercise, avoiding poorly ventilated areas and proximity to sick people, doctors all agree that reverting to a seasonal flu vaccine is necessary to avoid the influenza altogether.

Trigger chronic illnesses

"Respiratory tract viruses can be extremely contagious and spread by direct contact like hand shaking. It can also spread through coughing and sneezing. One important viral infection that occurs during the fall is the influenza. That's why receiving the influenza vaccine during the months of October and November is important. These infections may trigger other chronic respiratory illnesses like bronchial asthma and chronic bronchitis," said Dr Yasser Abu Al Sameed, Respirology Consultant, at Shaikh Khalifa Medical City.

Dr Ravi Arora, internist physician at New Medical Centre feels that the community should receive the vaccine from now.

"The peek time for a seasonal flu is mostly during changing weather conditions, which is the case right now in the UAE. That's why I encourage people to receive the vaccine, which can help reduce the transfer of seasonal flu by 85 per cent," said Arora.

Dr Yousef Hefny, Consultant and head of ENT clinic in Al Noor Hospital says that a healthy intake of fresh fruits and vegetables is the best way to increase a persons immune system, however not everyone can avoid crowded areas.

"Individual risks and exposure determine the importance of such vaccination. Additionally, medical research has provided a response to the yearly viral threat: the seasonal flu," said Hefny.

Preventing an upper respiratory infection

Dr Yaser Abu Al Sameed, Respirology Consultant, at Shaikh Khalifa Medical City managed by Cleveland Clinic, speaks to Gulf News about the best way to prevent an upper respiratory infection.

He said: "The best way to prevent an upper respiratory infection is to avoid the virus. This can be done by regular hand washing, avoid sick people, and support the immune system. The latter is done by regular exercise and a diet that has adequate servings of fruits and vegetables. Hydration and appropriate rest are the best to keep a healthy immune system."

"Other important steps to take in order to prevent the spread of upper respiratory tract infections to other people. These include washing hands thoroughly, specially after touching the nose or mouth, and before handling food. Sneezing and coughing should be into tissues. Sick patients should not share cups or kitchen utensils with others. "