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Coronavirus: As winter approaches, experts ask people to get prepared for “twindemic”

Twindemic: Expert warns about the increased risk of developing COVID-19 and influenza in a new report. Read on to find out more.

Written by Arushi Bidhuri |Updated : October 27, 2020 9:20 AM IST

Experts hint at a higher possibility of people contracting both influenza and COVID-19 infections during the winter season. The fast-approaching season of coughs and sniffles has the healthcare professionals worried about the situation getting worse. The fear of "twindemic" lingers on the minds of these experts, who are advising people to boost their immunity.

"Winter season being a season of flu poses a peculiar challenge during COVID-19 pandemic," said Harshal R. Salve, Associate Professor at Centre for Community Medicine, as reported by IANS. He recommends people to take necessary precautions such as the use of mask, frequent hand washing and social distancing to not only prevent COVID-19 infections but also avoid the contraction of seasonal flu.

According to the experts, it is more important than ever to boost immunity for the coming winters. Here are some tips they have suggested to lower the risk of developing these two viral diseases.

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Increase the intake of citrus fruits

Citrus fruits are touted as one of the strongest immunity boosters. It is high in vitamin C, which increases the production of white blood cells that help combat infections. They also contain antioxidants that help fight infections.

Add more green vegetables to your diet

The simplest way to improve your immunity is by adding green leafy vegetables. They are packed with fibre, micronutrients like vitamin A, C and K, minerals like potassium, magnesium, iron, et al. Veggies such as broccoli, spinach, lettuce, collard greens, kale, and spinach are also high in antioxidants. "Adequate intake of citrus fruits and green leafy vegetables supplies much-needed antioxidants to the body to fight viral infections," added Salve.

Engage in physical activity

"Maintain a healthy lifestyle by meeting the 80 per cent nutritional requirements and 20 per cent physical activity," Parmeet Kaur, the Senior Dietician at Naryana Hospital in Gurugram, told IANS. She further emphasized the importance of eating foods rich in Vitamin C and antioxidants to build immunity and prevent various illnesses.

Consider using Gamma Oryzanol

S.P. Byotra, Chairman, Department of Internal Medicine at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital in New Delhi told IANS: "To keep your body immune and healthy, using natural anti-oxidants like Gamma Oryzanol has many health benefits including boosting immunity as it neutralizes free radicals in the body."

Gamma oryzanol is a substance that is taken out of rice barn oil. It is also found in wheat bran and fruits and vegetables. "It is used for controlling elevated cholesterol and triglyceride levels, supporting cardiovascular health along with controlling anxiety and menopausal symptoms," added Byotra.

Key differences between COVID-19 and Influenza

Since both influenza and COVID-19 are respiratory illnesses, people tend to get confused. While COVID-19 is caused by a coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2, flu is caused by influenza viruses. Here is how you can tell them apart:


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the symptoms of both the illnesses include fever, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle pain, headache, and diarrhoea in some people.

When you suffer from the flu, you might experience the symptoms mentioned above. However, a person suffering from COVID-19 will experience other symptoms like loss of taste or smell as well. Plus, they cause more serious illnesses.

Incubation period

Typically, when a person becomes infected by a flu virus, it might take 1 to 4 days to develop the symptoms. Whereas, the incubation period for coronavirus is 5-14 days.


Most people who get the flu recover in a few days, and they are less likely to have complications. However, both COVID-19 and flu can result in complications in severe cases.

A person suffering from COVID-19 is more likely to experience complications such as blood clots in the veins, cardiac injury, multiple-organ failure, respiratory failure, pneumonia, and acute respiratory distress syndrome.

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