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Fight Off The Flu

Kaylen Aldridge, In Depth Editor

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On Friday, January 6th, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) announced that every part of the continental United States was experiencing widespread flu activity. This year, Influenza A has become especially prevalent resulting in a total of over 30 flu-related pediatric deaths so far.

“I was diagnosed with Influenza A on Thursday last week. I hadn’t been feeling great all week and when I eventually went to the doctor, they told me I had the flu. I was sick for several days before I began to recover. It wasn’t a fun experience,” Junior Abbie Bavuso said.

The flu, although usually believed to be spread through sneezing and coughing, can be spread simply by breathing. According to Donald K. Milton, professor of environmental health at the University of Maryland, infected people develop infectious tiny droplets of moisture that stay in the air and are spread even when the person isn’t coughing or sneezing.

“When sneezing or coughing, use a tissue, not your hands. Throw the used tissues away immediately. Wash your hands often with soap and water or an alcohol based hand rub and keep your hands away from your eyes mouth, and nose,” BSN, RN Michaela Stoker of the Midwest Transplant Network said.

The flu shot is only predicted to be effective against 30 percent of H3 viruses this year. Each year the flu shot is tweaked to target the flu most projected to break out for the coming flu season. Even though it isn’t as effective this year, it’s still recommended that everyone over six months old receives it.

“It’s absolutely worth getting a flu shot! Even though a person may still get the flu after being vaccinated, it will most likely be less severe and shorter duration compared to someone who did not get it,” Stoker said.

Along with consistent hand washing and hygiene, taking some kind of vitamin supplement is recommended. One natural and relatively cheap option is Elderberry syrup.

“Elderberry syrup has been used for hundreds of years for medicinal reasons. Elderberries are packed with nutrients including minerals and vitamins A, B, and C. They serve as anti-inflammatory and antioxidant agents in our bodies. Specifically, they help with respiratory infections, coughs, and sore throats by soothing inflammation and irritation. They also have antibacterial and anti-infectious qualities that boost our immune system,” Stoker said.

While the flu has been attacking for weeks now, there’s still a long road ahead.

“There’s still a lot more flu to go this year, maybe even 13 weeks more of flu activity,” said Dr. Dan Jernigan of the CDC.


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