According to health officials, this season will be one of the worst for flu and colds on record. When tracking the flu, experts look toward the east and if that is any indication of what North America is in for, we are in for a nasty winter.
Australia, Hong Kong, and other areas in the Southern Hemisphere have grappled with one of their worst flu seasons on record. This year the predominant strain, H3N2, is the strain that many health experts say may cause the biggest problems. It’s the same virus that wreaked havoc 3 years ago when the vaccine was a mismatch.
According to Canadian microbiologist Jason Tetro, “It’s basically gone from one root of the virus, one clade split into five. As a result of that, the vaccine strain is losing its ability to match these five different ones. It’s very difficult once you start seeing these changes to develop a new vaccine.”
So will the vaccine work? According to some, there will be some overlap between the circulating strains and the vaccine, so there will be some protection. And if you do get the flu, the symptoms will be milder.
What if you don’t get a flu shot? Try these five tips to keep you and your family healthy this season.
1. Vitamin D – Immune support is just one of the many benefits of vitamin D. Research has shown that if your vitamin D levels are low, your immune system suffers. Start with 1000 mg per day and talk to your healthcare practitioner about getting your levels tested. You may need to take a lot more.
2. Sleep – Sleep may be the best treatment and prevention for colds and flu. Studies have shown that sleep deprivation suppresses the immune system – leading us to have a less than optimal fever response (fever is actually the body’s way of fighting infection), and less antibodies produced on exposure to these viruses. The result? Stronger symptoms and a longer duration of symptoms, compared to individuals who are getting adequate sleep.
3. Immune Support – Taking a formula that combines immune-supportive nutrients, along with nutrients to support adrenal health and fight stress, should be a no-brainer. Pathway Immune Support does all of this.
4. Reduce Your Exposure – This can be as simple as washing your hands, but don’t forget to limit exposure to those who are infected, too. If you have a cold or the flu, it is important to stay home – if not for your own rest and recuperation, then for the health and safety of others. Cold and flu viruses are spread by skin-to-skin contact, air particles, or direct contact with particles, like someone sneezing on you. In the case of colds, individuals are generally contagious the first 2-3 days, while flu sufferers are contagious for about a week.
5. Elderberry – This is one of my favorites! Rich in a specific type of flavonoid called anthocyanins, studies have shown that elderberry may reduce the severity and duration of cold and flu symptoms, such as cough, congestion and body aches.
Photo from here, with thanks.