The 2018 Epidemic
The U.S. has experienced one of the worst flu seasons in recent history, so much so that the Center for Disease Control held a special briefing and declared an epidemic. The flu has been so widespread this year mainly due to the H3N2 influenza strain, which was only successfully contained by vaccines in thirty percent of flu cases, per the CDC.
The H3N2 strain is linked closely with those who have more severe conditions, and is particularly harmful to children under five years, and adults over sixty five. The strain is so devastating that thirty children have died from the flu this year as of January 24th. These deaths are sobering, and our hearts are with the families grieving for their loved ones.
Flu Vaccine—How It Works and Where It Fails
With every epidemic, it’s important to know just how to keep you and your family as safe as possible from the outbreak. Medical professionals suggest receiving the flu vaccine, saying it is the best way to help prevent the flu. But as seen above, it is unfortunately not perfect. In recent years, the highest percentage of efficacy was in 2010, when the flu vaccine worked in sixty percent of cases. Flu vaccines cause antibodies to develop in the body, which then contain the virus when the body is infected. In cases where a vaccinated person gets the flu, it is because the antibodies failed to contain the virus.
Each year, two new versions of the flu vaccine are developed. Due to the evolutionary nature of the influenza virus, drug developers have to work and research year-round to prepare for the next season.
Symptoms of the Flu
The flu shares many symptoms with other illnesses, and is often mistaken for flu-like illnesses. The most prevalent symptoms you may experience are:
- Muscle soreness and aches
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
If you’re experiencing these symptoms for a significant amount of time and believe you have the flu, it may be best to seek out medical assistance. In this flu season epidemic, it is especially important to keep the virus contained and prevent it from spreading.
How to Prevent the Flu
The CDC advises that the best way to prevent the flu is by yearly vaccinations. However, since the flu vaccine isn’t one hundred percent effective, there are other ways to help keep you healthy. One of the best ways is to keep your hands clean—make sure to wash your hands intermittently throughout the day, after hand shakes, when traveling, and especially after using the restroom. Airborne viruses cause significant threat, so keeping the nasal passages clean is another important way to help guard yourself against the flu. Just like washing hands regularly is vital to maintaining good health, so too is regular nasal hygiene.
Using Xlear Nasal Spray will help keep your nose and sinus passages healthy, and can therefore help when you’re sick. Xlear features the natural ingredient xylitol, which assists the body’s natural defenses to effectively wash the nose of contaminants. The nasal spray can also alleviate symptoms such as congestion.
Take extra care this flu season, and consider getting a flu shot. Keep up a constant routine of hand washing and nasal hygiene. And, most of all, make sure your kids and loved ones are well protected against the flu.