Assessment of commitment to healthy daily habits and diets, preventive measures, and beliefs about natural products utilization during COVID-19 pandemic in certain population in Egypt and Saudi Arabia

Main Article Content

Keywords

Coronavirus, COVID-19, Questionnaire , Natural food and drinks, Egypt, Saudi Arabia

Abstract

<p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>Objective: </strong>The purpose of this research is to assess the commitment of participants in Saudi Arabia and Egypt towards healthy daily habits, preventive measures, healthy food habits, and beliefs about natural products as an immunostimulants during COVID-19 pandemic. <strong>Method: </strong>A cross-sectional questionnaire-based study was conducted in Saudi Arabia (mainly Riyadh and Jeddah) and Egypt (mainly Cairo). The questionnaire instrument was created based on an extensive literature review on the COVID-19 pandemic, including its spreading and transmission methods, preventive measures, healthy lifestyle, and diets that increase human immunity against viral infections and the use of natural products and drinks. The questionnaire was created by Microsoft 365&reg; office forms, participants were invited through emails and other social media. The questionnaire includes a demographic section (gender, nationality, residency country, city, age, marital status, educational level, employment status, chronic disease history, under anxiety or stress, have a temper or irritable person, were infected/currently infected and in contact to COVID-19 patient) and (23) questions arranged under five domains; Domain I daily habits (4), Domain II keeping preventive measures (4), Domain III healthy eating habits (9), Domain IV for participants currently or previously infected, or in contact with a patient (4) Domain V for assessment of participants&rsquo; beliefs towards the use of natural products to elevate immunity during COVID-19 pandemic (2), beside 4 choice questions (stimulant drinks, natural drinks, natural products, and zinc-rich food). SPSS&reg; was used to analyze the results using Student&rsquo; t-test, ANOVA, and Tukey&rsquo;s HSD tests.<strong> Result:</strong> 510 individuals with various demographic characteristics participated in the study. This study revealed that the participants belief in healthy foods, natural drinks (mainly ginger, lemon, and cinnamon), natural products (mainly honey, olive oil, and black seed), healthy habits, and preventive measures as sanitizers, social distance, and exercise. Only 13% of all participants were infected with COVID-19, although 31% of them were in contact with COVID -19 patients, about 93% were under stress, and 22% were with chronic diseases. Participants who are married, not in contact with patients and not previously infected by COVID-19 are more adhered to preventive measures while those previously or currently infected are more committed to healthy lifestyle and diet habits. Qualification level seems to make no significant difference in any domain. 78.6% of the participants beliefs in the benefits of utilizing natural products in preventing infection with corona virus or reducing the period of treatment in case of infection. About 95.7% of the infected persons had no need of hospitalization and about 50% are cured within two weeks of infection. The questionnaire revealed that Nescafe and black tea were the most used stimulant drinks among the participants, particularly the students and who were always under stress. Most of the participants agreed with the utilization of Zn-rich food, particularly Egyptians, which may help in boosting their immunity. <strong>Conclusion:</strong> Natural products selected in the present study can be used in combination with the existing clinical standards of care that have the potential to serve as prophylactic agents in populations that are at risk to develop COVID-19 infection.</p>

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