Have you been suffering from colds and respiratory illnesses frequently lately?

The loss of balance between antioxidants and free radicals in the body, which can damage and change the structure and function of cells (oxidation), produces a substance called “oxidative stress”, thereby increasing our body’s risk of triggering different diseases. Predispositions, including respiratory disease.

Common factors such as exposure to cigarette smoke, air pollution, sunlight, stress and poor diet are all irritants that promote the production of free radicals in the body and affect the health of our respiratory systems.

“It is important to avoid compromising our respiratory health by recognizing increased mucus production, inflammation and viruses,” said Dr. Dario Londoño, a pulmonologist at the Santa Fe Bogota Foundation. Invisible signs of respiratory illness such as “replication” are high levels of oxidation in our respiratory systems. “

excessive secretion of mucus

Sometimes, increased mucus production can accumulate in the airways and even in the lungs, causing the respiratory system to have to work harder.

In addition, due to increased secretions, the concentration of solid mucus can increase by up to 15%, making breathing more difficult, so mucolytics must be used to reduce mucus viscosity and secretion.


Inflammation of the main airways causes difficulty in air circulation due to narrowing and/or obstruction of the airways and is in the vast majority of cases accompanied by increased mucus production.

In acute or chronic respiratory diseases, inflammation can be caused by a variety of factors, such as bacterial or viral infections, as well as environmental factors, such as pollution, smoking, or irritants in the environment.

Inflammation associated with acute and chronic respiratory illnesses can cause symptoms such as cough, mucus (phlegm), tiredness, shortness of breath, mild fever, chills, and chest discomfort.

“To control symptoms and improve lung function,” it is recommended to hydrate adequately, simultaneously treat fever and pain symptomatically, and use N-acetylcysteine ​​(a mucolytic agent with antioxidant effects) as complementary therapy.

When people suffer from acute respiratory diseases, its mucus dissolving function helps relieve respiratory congestion, reduce the viscosity and secretion of mucus, thereby promoting its discharge.

In chronic diseases, it is also recommended for its antioxidant mechanism, which has been shown to help control oxidation of respiratory cells (causing some diseases), and its anti-inflammatory effects to protect the airways from damage . Because of the different levels of exposure,” said Dr. Dario Londoño.

virus replication

Because oxidative stress causes damage to respiratory cells, it can increase viral replication by 100% to 200%, thereby increasing the risk of viral infection of respiratory diseases.

Colombia’s National Institute of Health’s 34th week epidemiological bulletin shows that the number of hospitalizations for acute respiratory diseases in the country this year is higher than the average of the past five years.

The highest risk group is adults over 60 years old, accounting for 31.6% (832 cases); followed by children under one year old, accounting for 28.4% (746 cases).

Among the patients with the highest proportion of patients hospitalized in intensive care units and intermediate care units, 28.6% were children under one year old and 25.3% were children between 1 and 4 years old.

One of the main causes of acute respiratory infections is viral infection, which continues to increase throughout the year. Currently, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is the main cause, accounting for 23.6%, rhinovirus is 17.0%, and enterovirus is 17.0%.

When symptoms such as fever, general malaise, nasal congestion, runny nose, cough, sore throat, sputum production, difficulty breathing, etc. appear, you must be alert, because this is usually an alarm for the detection of acute respiratory infection (ARI), so it comes from high blood pressure in the body. level of oxidation.

If symptoms persist, it is important to seek prompt medical attention once symptomatic treatment has been initiated at home and good hydration is maintained so that the treating physician can implement treatment strategies that relieve symptoms and prevent the spread of viral causes of acute respiratory illness.

However, it is important to learn to pay attention to the symptoms in the body. If you are a person exposed to external factors such as: cigarette smoke, pollution and/or stressful situations, or you have poor eating habits, your body may overproduce free radicals, so oxidation levels are high in the body.

You may have recurring respiratory illnesses caused by different viruses, including: The common cold.

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