Health Front: The Flu Near You
By DR. JERRY DeCAPUA, TRT Contributing Writer
● All those who cough around you throughout January do not have the flu. Some people who cough frequently during the deep winter months are sensitive to household dust from forced air duct heaters and dust from the wood stove. Some people are extra sensitive to molds that proliferate during the damp season. Being indoors can cause any number of allergies to act up with the symptoms of coughing and running nose. Common colds appear and go during the winter months, and are caused from a variety of common viruses, including a non-invasive polio virus. Most everyone has had one form of the polio virus once in their life. It appeared and went as an average common cold.
Regardless, the influenza virus certainly makes its appearance in the north and south hemispheres during their respective winters. The influenza in South America is studied by the CDC scientists while we enjoy the hottest days of July. This is where the CDC first begins to study, identify and tract strains that may affect us later.
The newest strain of influenza is presently moving very quickly across North America. Lately, the flu’s acceleration has quickened and is widespread in 41 states. As of December 31, 2,257 people had been hospitalized and 18 children have died. Of all the people who received the latest influenza vaccination, 25 percent still got the flu, states Professor John Browstein of Harvard Medical School. The CDC states that the 2010-2011 flu season had a vaccine effectiveness of 60 percent. They probably based that statistic on a fact that four out of ten people vaccinated still got the flu. There is the dilemma that the precaution of the flu vaccine does not necessarily secure you from the disease. People must initiate behaviors and measures to insure security and protection from the influenza, whether vaccinated or not. The following is a list of them.
● You must put on a coat to keep warm and dry. Some people with self-esteem issues feel slightly vulnerable when they have to put on a coat for protection. It may be shocking news to them that a microscopic organism can make them deadly sick, or that they can be a carrier that infects those around them. Help us all out and stay healthy by bundling up with protection. Only a fool disregards the elements or is insensitive to others.
● Drink only warm or hot fluids. Ice, cold drinks and ice cream can make you cold and your lungs vulnerable.
● The U.S.D.A considers garlic and ginger antibiotic and antiviral tonics. Use any tonic or able herb regularly that might strengthen the immune response.
● Take Zinc and Vitamin C daily to strengthen the immune system.
● Be aware of your allergies. Take note of what triggers your immune defenses. Watch out for foods that are inflammatory. Avoid any drink, food, mold or particulate that might weaken your immune response. The most likely consumed items are alcohol and dairy. Animal dander, car defroster air, wood smoke and second hand cigarette smoke are particulates that over tax the immune response and the defense against viruses.
● The Pittsburg school system reduced the effects of flu season by taking certain precautions. Kids brought handkerchiefs to school and were taught to use them preventively. Desks to doorknobs were wiped continuously for germs. Kids stayed home if they were sick and a threat to others. Teachers and students observed good hygiene and washed their hands often.
● Gargling with antiseptic or salt water every day is a good preventative measure for you and others.
Establishing better hygiene behaviors is the first line of defense during the flu season, which has not peaked as yet. Another precaution to enlist might be to watch the progression of the influenza on a website called flunearyou.org . This website offers the latest regional status and the acceleration of its spread. It shows by map how the cities that are major transportation hubs are infected first prior to the flu spreading and branching to smaller communities. It also shows historical graphs on flu activity levels for 2012. Last year’s flu was at its peak during the first two weeks of February. This year’s influenza is accelerating faster.