The Korea Herald


Build resistance to flu-type illnesses


Published : Sept. 29, 2011 - 15:26

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Everyone must have had a cold.

And flu is one of the most common acute diseases, which can easily strike a whole family at once.

However, not many people can tell how to prevent flu-type illnesses easily.

Influenza, or flu, is a respiratory infection caused by a variety of viruses. They are composed of millions of tiny germs that can hardly be seen through microscopes.

Due to the fact that influenza and the cold are infectious, people in the old days suspected that some microorganisms came in and out body and caused a disease.

But the viruses of flu-type illnesses are too small. It was only 50 years ago that viruses were identified with the help of a precise microscope. We now know that flu and the common cold are caused by infectious viruses.

There are various strains of virus that cause a cold and we do not know how many types there are. Even if you catch a cold, if another virus comes into your body, you can catch a cold again. Besides, as new types of virus appear every year, it is impossible to develop vaccines that are resistant to all of them.

Flu-type illnesses break out suddenly, mostly in the late fall and winter. The disease spreads through communities. You can get the flu if someone around you has it and coughs or sneezes. You can get the flu simply by touching a surface that has been contaminated. The viruses can pass through the air and can enter your body through your nose or mouth. If you have touched a contaminated surface, they can pass via your hands.


In winter, people often catch a cold, and they think that as their body has become cold, they have caught a cold.

But actually coldness does not cause a cold or flu. The reason why there are many patients who catch the illnesses is because the metabolism and immunity of our body are weakened due to coldness and the invasion of viruses is made easy.

If your condition is bad, you can be infected at any time of year.

Usually, the viruses can pass through coughs and sneezes by someone who is sick or by contacting some contaminated surface. In every flu season, be careful not to touch the nose with a hand.

The purpose of the treatment of cold is to alleviate the symptoms and reduce the patients’ pain, and there is no proof that especially some treatments shorten the progress of the disease. Therefore, patients should increase the resistance of their body by taking sufficient rest for several days. If they use medicine as a supplementary means to alleviate the symptoms, they will be able to recover from the disease.

Above all, the most effective treatment and prevention is to avoid contact with flu patients, among others. Wash your hands and face when you come indoors from open-air activities. Also, brush your teeth well.

By Choi Dong-chull MD., PhD.


The author is a doctor at the Department of Allergy of the Samsung Medical Center.