Sneezing, coughing, fatigue, and stuffy nose… You may have caught a simple head cold, or you may have to face off with influenza. Each year, a few different strains of flu virus begin a trail of infection that often leaves a wake of illness across the country. Each year, influenza continues to make headlines as the public and health officials attempt to keep track of its trail. Pharmacy lines grow with the elderly attempting to protect themselves with vaccinations, and schools take extra precautions to keep the germ level down.
This year, things are a little different. The aggressive H3N3 viral strain has made its way into the spotlight – and could be coming to a school near you. Influenza already kills up to 500,000 different people world wide each year – with up to 20,000 of those deaths in the United States alone. And if the collective number of yearly casualties is not enough to scare you, then the fact that the Centers for Disease Control created an ineffective vaccine will. Check out the full story on this year’s flu season, and learn about full spectrum of potential for disaster.
Want the bad news first? Health officials believe that the influenza outbreaks as of late could progress to a pandemic by the first of the year 2015. With documented flu activity in the United States of America on the rise, our country could be one of the first to experience the widespread effects of this budding epidemic. Already, most of the states have shown spreading activity linked to the worrisome strain of flu. Multiple schools in Ohio, Tennessee, Georgia, and North Carolina have emptied and closed their doors in measures to hamper the spread and exposure.
With deaths already on the rise from H3N3, targeting mainly young children and the elderly, we may be in for a rough flu season. After taking the growing severity into consideration, another issue arises – this year’s vaccination to prevent the virus does not work. While it may prove temporarily effective against the more common strains of flu virus, it does not fight off the H3N3 strain that our country currently fights. The vaccine only matches up to forty eight percent of strains, with a fifty two percent gap of strains left untreated.
Not only does the current vaccination prove ineffective, but the government’s precautions to take care of its own employees do not match up to standard. The Department of Homeland Security does not look after its TSA employees who work at airports on a daily basis. In highly contagious areas, the DHS provides nonworking protective masks for ‘employee comfort’ as opposed to providing fully functioning masks that would eliminate the illness of this group of workers. Airports are the main highway for airborne illnesses like the flu, and our TSA workers are highly vulnerable to exposure and later spreading.
Ten of fifty states have experienced the highest levels of severe flu activity as of December 13, 2014, with thirteen total experiencing an above-moderate level of activity. Nearly each state in America has experienced some level of exposure to the flu virus. With a total of seven deaths in Georgia and six deaths in North Carolina, and cases expanding nationally, we could be in for a rough holiday season. That is the other danger – people travel for the holidays, making airports a hotspot for virulent spread and transport.
The flu has very similar symptoms to the common cold – at least it starts off that way. Keeping an eye out for the way you feel and perform typical tasks throughout the day may help you respond more quickly to the progression of the virus, while also lessening the intensity of the symptoms and potentially cutting your time feeling sick shorter. Here are some indicators to look out for so that you can start boosting your immunity at the first sign of the flu.
Flu symptoms generally come out of nowhere, blindsiding you regardless of location. Colds generally come on slowly with a gradual progression of symptoms. You may start to feel a little sore, like you exercised too much. Pressure in your head starts to grow to a headache, and the fatigue may start to set in quickly. You feel more tired that you normally would feel. Other symptoms include a cough, sore throat, and a runny nose.
Despite the the CDC’s push to get people out of the house and into pharmacies to take their noneffective vaccine, staying at home is probably the best start. Stay away from highly populated areas, especially if there are confirmed cases of H3N3 in your area. This will eliminate the possibility of exposure to the virus, reducing your risks of contracting it. If at all possible, avoid pharmacies, banks, grocery stores, and other crowded places.
The first step to fighting the flu is prevention and strengthening your immune system. Consume plenty of raw, organic vegetables and fruits to boost your immune system naturally. Up your dosage of vitamin C, especially for those days where you have to expose yourself to the public. Taking proper doses of oregano oil and olive leaf extract on such days can also greatly reduce your risk of contracting the virus, as these supplements can boost your immune system to fight off any early stages of viral invasion. Exercise to ensure that your circulation carries nutrients and white blood cells to all needed areas of the body. Get enough sleep each night to provide you body with proper energy throughout the day. And remember – drink plenty of water to maintain a strong lymphatic system.
Treatment starts at the first sign of illness. So, whether you have a slight headache or a borage of fever that comes out of nowhere, start packing in the fresh water and fluids. Water helps lymph, a fluid that contains defensive white blood cells, travel more efficiently through your circulatory system. Therefore, white blood cells can fight off virus particles more easily, eliminating the infection quicker.
You can drink organic white tea as a natural antiviral substance that will help eliminate some of the antigens upon contact. Adding honey and lemon to the mix will provide some extra vitamin C and antiseptic properties to continue cleansing out your system. Drinking an organic mint tea will help reduce soreness in the throat or lungs, and improve circulation to break up any sinus blockage that occurs as a result. See our blog about teas to learn more about what these hot beverages can do for you.
Alkalizing your body will create a hostile environment for antigens. Adding lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to your water will help make this possible. By boosting your pH balance in this way, you can also lend your immune system a helping hand as the alkalinity is beneficial to your body, even outside of fighting off illness. It will provide you with some energy as well, and aid digestion so that your body receives the highest nutritional benefits possible.
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