by Jeff Clemetson, Editor
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting widespread cases of the flu in 47 states in its latest report issued today. Flu cases are high in 24 states, moderate in 16, low in five and minimal in five. The report was based on findings during the week of Dec. 30 to Jan. 5. In addition to calling the flu outbreak “widespread,” the CDC has also reported that deaths from flu and pneumonia are “slightly above the epidemic threshold.” During the week studied for the CDC report, 7.3 percent of all deaths in the country were caused by flu or pneumonia. Other flu epidemic indicators were also up, including hospitalizations from the flu and doctor visits for the flu.
Because this season is especially bad for the flu, the CDC is recommending most people to get flu shots, especially those who are considered at risk because their profession puts them in contact with children or elderly like teachers and health care workers. For a complete list of flu shot guidelines, visit the CDC Website here.
The flu is a common disease that can cause varying degrees of sickness, depending on how strong the virus is that gets you. The most common symptoms are fever, sore throat, coughing, runny nose and fatigue. Most cases of the flu last for only a week or two before the body’s own immune system takes care of it.
If you haven’t had a flu shot or don’t want to take one, there are some natural ways to minimize the effects of the flu:
Drink Water. The flu virus causes dehydration and the body needs fluids to flush it out. Water, tea, fruit juices are all effective liquids to hydrate during a flu spell. Caffeinated drinks should not be consumed, however, because they are diuretics that can actually further dehydrate you.
Soup is Good Food. It may seem cliche to have a bowl of chicken soup when you’re sick with the flu, but it has been actually been studied and ingesting warm soup has been proven to aid the body in decongestion.
Take Herbs. There are many ancient remedies for cold and flu symptoms that are still used to day. Echinacea extracts have been found to boost the immune system to fight respiratory tract infections. Other herbal remedies include Ginseng, Elderberry extract, and Licorice Root.
Take Your Vitamins. There are some very important dietary supplements that you can take to boost your immune system to help fight the flu. Most people know that Vitamin C found in citrus fruits os good for people with a cold or flu. Other important vitamins and minerals are Vitamin A, carotenes, zinc and selenium.
Take Five. When you have the flu, one of the most severe and annoying symptoms is fatigue. For those of us with busy lives, fatigue is the symptom we most want to ignore. This is very dangerous, however, and trying to stay active while recovering from the flu can cause the virus to strengthen or develop into something worse like pneumonia. Rest is what you need to keep the body focused on fighting the virus.
Always remember to judge how your recovery is going and if you find that your symptoms are getting worse, make sure you go see a doctor. Don’t wait if you have too difficult trouble breathing because that is a sign that your flu has developed into something worse that needs medical attention.