Keep your masks on, keep your immunity high: Covid is back!

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Prof. Dr. dr. Iris Rengganis Sp.PD-KAI.
Prof. Dr. dr. Iris Rengganis Sp.PD-KAI. Photo: ESTI/IO

IO – “From the end of January to mid-February 2022, the number of Covid-19 infections has been increasing significantly, following the appearance of the new Omicron variant,” said Dr. dr. Erlina Burhan, Sp.P(K), M.Sc., lung specialist and consultant from Persahabatan Central General Hospital, Jakarta, in a media meet themed “Don’t be Careless: Improve your Immunity to Prevent Covid-19 Infection” held on Thursday (03/02/2022). 

“Estimated infection rate in the community has exceeded 20%. The first Omicron cases were imported cases brought in by foreign travelers. However, community infection has now occurred. I suspect that if we check, most cases of Covid now occurring in Indonesia are Omicron cases because of its extremely high speed of infection. Do not get complacent just because this variant shows zero to mild symptoms. Do not underestimate it! We have vulnerable groups to protect: the elderly and those who are not yet vaccinated for various reasons,” she stated. 

Omicron symptoms are similar to flu: pain in the throat, coughs, fevers, headaches, exhaustion and lack of spirit, and muscular pain. “These symptoms are very bothersome. We simply need to have sufficient rest and water to get rid of the flu, but Omicron patients must also drink vitamins and get antivirus on medium to hard cases. If you have flu-like symptoms and you’re not sure what you got, take the necessary tests to identify whether you got Covid-19 or not. If you do, immediately isolate yourself independently to keep from infecting others. Do your PCR checks in Community Health Clinics because this is covered by the Government and you don’t have to pay,” she said. 

Offline Activities 

During the same event, Prof. Dr. dr. Iris Rengganis Sp.PD-KAI, Cipto Mangunkusumo Hospital Jakarta internist and allergy/immunology consultant, stated that improving one’s natural immunity by consuming healthy food, carrying out routine exercise, having sufficient rest, and managing one’s stress is crucial, as people have restarted their normal public activities. She further reminds people who have obtained their second stage vaccination for six months or more to get their booster shots. 

“This booster injection is especially important during the pandemic, because it complements our personal immunity. Personal immunity levels differ for each individual because of genetics, body mass index, sufficiency and insufficiency of nutrition, existence or lack of co-morbid diseases, and emotional/psychological condition. While waiting for their booster shots, people who have received two vaccination shots should consume immune-modulator supplements and vitamins at least once a day if possible. We need these supplements when we feel our body is less than fit,” Prof. Iris said. 

Prof. Iris further explained how supplements containing Echinacea purpurea, black elderberry, zinc, vitamin C, and vitamin D work: “Echinacea purpurea modulates the immunity system and makes it more sensitive and able to detect more viruses; black elderberry improves the body’s response to inflammations; zinc stimulates the work of the immune system against infections; vitamin C is an anti-oxidant and co-factor in the immunity function; and vitamin D is a hormone receptor that serves as an effective immune-modulator. If all of these are provided in coordination, it would optimize the immune system’s virus detection and elimination abilities.” 

Meanwhile, Raphael Aswin Susilowidodo, from Soho Global Health which produces Imboost, reiterates that prevention is always better than cure, “During the pandemic, supplements have become a necessity that help us prevent catching the virus. We need to consume supplements that contain immune-modulators and vitamins to improve our defensiveness, as they work effectively on the three layers of the body’s immune system.” 

Finally, dr. Erlina reiterates the importance of maintaining strict health protocol discipline to avoid catching Covid-19: wearing health masks, regular hand-washing with soap, maintaining a safe distance, staying away from crowds, and reducing mobility. “For those of you already back at the office, I suggest that at least you should avoid eating together, and eat by yourselves in your own cubicles. This is because we open our masks when we eat, and this is the moment with the highest possibility of infection,” she said. (est)