The 2012-2013 flu season has begun earlier than it has in ten years. This flu season seems to have taken on a form in which people have developed a lack of immunity and have even contracted the virus multiple times within this season alone. Even some who have gotten vaccinated are still developing the virus. Hospitals around the country have been flooded with people who have contracted the virus and are not responding to antibiotics. Among reported cases 85% are children, 60% adults, and 30% are elderly and there have been 20 reported deaths of people under the age of 18 since the start of the flu season. According to the Center for Disease Control 47 states have reported widespread cases of influenza.
Many people have their reservations about getting vaccinated especially since reports have surfaced of the vaccine being ineffective in some and causing adverse reactions in others. However the CDC encourages everyone to get the vaccine, especially those who are at high risk of developing serious complications like pneumonia, those with asthma, diabetes, chronic lung disease, people over 65, and those who live with or care for others who are at high risk of developing serious complications. Once vaccinated it can take up to two weeks for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against the flu. Vaccines for the U.S. market are available in the form of intramuscular injection (directly into the muscle), intradermal injection (between the layers of the skin), and a nasal spray. Flu vaccines are designed to protect against the 3 most common flu strains; influenza B viruses, influenza A (H1N1), and influenza A (H3N2).
Natural Remedies for Treating the Flu:
- Drink plenty of water and fruit juices, and fluids with electrolytes, as electrolytes prevent dehydration. Try to avoid caffeinated beverages because caffeine is a diuretic and this will cause your body to release fluids.
- Eating soup has been known to help relieve symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections.
- Get plenty of rest.
- Using a humidifier helps ease nasal congestion and sore throat pain.
- Gargling with salt water helps rid the throat of thick mucus.
- Elderberries (non-wild) have been used for centuries to treat and soothe colds, flu, and sinus infection. This herb can be purchased in syrup form.
- Ginger root is used to treat digestive problems, upset stomach, nausea, cold, flu-like symptoms, and headache. Fresh ginger can be simmered in water and consumed or purchased in tea form.