Influenza experts predict a severe flu season for 2017-2018. Learn the best natural ways to protect yourself and your family against increasingly stronger influenza viruses.
Influenza viruses incubate in South China and Southeast Asia. First infections occur in China, Hong Kong, and Southeast Asian. Influenza infection then spreads to Australia and other countries across the Southern Hemisphere before heading to North America and Europe.
In 2017-2018, the main flu strains are influenza A (H3N2) and influenza B.
Australia reported high levels of H3N2 with 98,000 cases. That was more than double the rate of previous years. Most deaths were in nursing homes, but healthy adults were also affected.
By the end of October 2017, levels of influenza in South America trended lower. Infectious disease experts guess that we’re in a quiet phase before flu outbreaks impact North America. But, they could be wrong.
Flu Vaccine Update
Seasonal flu vaccines take about two weeks to protect against the flu.
Because this year’s flu is expected to be stronger than previous years, experts at the Baylor College of Medicine recommend that everyone over age 65 get vaccinated. Some doctors even recommend higher dose vaccines.
Flu trivalent vaccines inoculate with three strains of influenza virus. But, this year’s vaccines are quadrivalent – containing four different strains. Quadrivalent vaccines include two influenza A viruses and two influenza B viruses.
No vaccine is 100 percent effective. But, if you get sick, there’s a good chance your case won’t be as severe. Immunology is not magic.
Those Who Shouldn’t Get Flu Vaccines:
- Children under six months.
- Those with severe allergies to previous flu vaccines.
- Those with allergies to ingredients in the vaccine, including gelatin or antibiotics.
- Precautions advised for those with egg allergy.
Canadian researchers found that overall flu vaccine effectiveness may be declining.
There is also the problem of repeat vaccination with the same strain. This year’s Northern Hemisphere flu shot contains the same H3N2 virus as for last year’s. But researchers found that H3 influenza A viruses already mutated in the Southern Hemisphere. So, the repeat vaccination effect may work against you for this winter’s flu season.
Bird Flu Update
This year’s H7N9 bird flu is the deadliest since first detected in 2013.
The current strain of bird flu mutated into a stronger, drug-resistant form. So far, it’s killing mostly chickens. However, earlier this year, China reported to the World Health Organization 759 cases of human infection with 281 deaths. That’s close to a 40% mortality rate. This is unheard of in recent years.
By September 2017, there were 1,558 confirmed cases of bird flu worldwide. The CDC published a statement on this new type of influenza A(H7N9). Among all viruses followed since 2013, this year’s bird flu is the worst and has the highest potential to go pandemic.
Protect Against the Flu Naturally
Since we can’t stop influenza viruses from replicating and traveling around the world, and vaccination and antiviral drugs have limited effect, natural medicines can help.
Flu is highly contagious. It spreads in the air from person to person. The best prevention is to avoid infection.
Tips to Avoid Infection:
- Wear a mask
- Wear gloves
- Wash your hands
- Don’t linger around people sneezing and coughing
- Wipe down surfaces
Natural Medicines for Strong Immunity
Flu vaccines never exactly match current influenza viral infections. So, even if you get vaccinated, natural medicines can help reduce the severity of illness. Natural immune boosters help prevent cold and flu and can shorten the time that you are sick.
Additionally, the next best thing to protect you and your family from the flu is to keep informed. Influenza viruses travel fast and mutate rapidly. Know what your up against, and how prevalent infection rates are in your area throughout flu season.
Wishing all the best of health for the upcoming 2018 flu season.
For a more in-depth view of self-health care for the flu, look for my book Beating the Flu.