Beating the Flu Naturally



The flu season is here and it is in full swing! According the CDC, the peak of the flu season has occurred in previous years from November to March with flu activity in the US peaking between December and February. Hello January! The year of 2018 seems to have the particularly virulent and troublesome virus H3N2 to contend against.

The CDC recommends that everyone 6 months or older receive a flu vaccine as the best preventative measure to prevent an influenza infection but is this really the best thing that we can do to prevent the flu?

Are there there preventative measures that we should take in addition to (or perhaps, instead of) receiving the flu vaccine?

And what if you already have symptoms of the flu?

Is there anything that can be done to lessen the effects of the most dreaded viral infection of the season?


The Flu Vaccine

The flu vaccine is created with input from the experts who guess which of the multiple strains of the flu virus will be the most prevalent of the flu season.

There are 4 different types of the flu virus: Influenza A, B, C, and D.

Influenza A is the most worrisome, with the potential to cause a flu pandemic. Influenza A and B cause the seasonal flu and type C can cause mild respiratory illness. Influenza D doesn't affect humans at all [1].

Since there are potentially 144 strains of Influenza A, two of which commonly infect humans (H1N1 and H3N2), it is impossible to accurately predict which strains will be the most common.

Experts must pick the flu virus strains to include in the vaccine many months ahead of the actual flu season [2].

According to the CDC, the effectiveness of the influenza vaccine for last season for all circulating viruses was 39%. This year's H3N2 virus has an average vaccine effectiveness rate of 33% (from the years of 2004-2015) compared to the higher rates of 61% against H1N1 and 54% against the Influenza B virus [2].

With the dismal numbers, is there anything else that we can do to prevent catching the flu?

Prevention:


Everyone knows that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure so preventing an influenza infection is optimal.

While the flu vaccine may be necessary or desired among certain populations, there are some who would prefer to forego receiving the vaccine.

For those who decide against receiving the flu vaccine or who need added protection against flu exposure, here are some natural effective preventive measures to take.


Hand washing and proper hygiene:

Hand washing is a powerful tool that you can use to prevent the spreading of the flu.