Severe Flu Season

Cases of the flu are already on the rise across the U.S., and health officials warn the worst is yet to come, reports NBCNews.com. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that symptoms associated with the seasonal virus are currently widespread in 36 states across the country. Lab tests have shown that the dominant virus in circulation is the H3N2 influenza strain, which tends to cause more severe illness than other strains. And new research has shown that the main process for manufacturing the flu vaccine triggers mutations in H3N2 that render the antibody stimulant less effective. “The mutation just happened to be in a very bad spot on the virus to make it essentially be a mismatch for the vaccine,” explains Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. This combination of factors doesn’t bode well for the flu season in the coming months; (Read More)

The Cost of Losing Sleep – Your Immunity

Sleep often takes a backseat to parenting or a career that requires long hours, but new research suggests that sacrificing slumber for productivity is a bad trade-off. Surveys of 22,000 Americans show that people who slept five hours or less on average weeknight were 28 percent more likely to have had a cold in the past month than those who averaged at least seven hours. Worse still, Reuters.com reports, the sleep-challenged subjects were 82 percent more likely to report battling the flu, pneumonia, or an ear infection. The study doesn’t prove that sleep loss increases susceptibility to infections, but researchers note that sleep deprivation does hinder infection-fighting white blood cells. Moreover, people who are chronically tired may also be less likely to exercise or follow a healthy diet. Says study author Aric Prather, “It is our hope that this work will help raise the profile of sleep as a critical (Read More)

Cold & Flu Season, It’s Here!

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the seasonal flu is a dangerous and unpredictable illness. A CDC study reveals as few as 3,000 individuals to as many as 49,000 people die on a yearly basis as a result of the flu. As you read the information above, it becomes apparent how important it is to protect yourself from getting the flu. During the holidays, frequent visits to crowded shopping malls and airports can increase your risk of catching the virus. In addition, trying to prevent the common cold is also wise as it can lead to more serious illnesses. Read below for some easy-to-follow tips on how to prevent yourself from catching a cold or coming down with the flu this season: Wash your hands: The lesson you have been taught since grade school is still one of the most effective ways to prevent sickness. Since you touch your mouth, (Read More)

Is the Flu Just a Simple Deficiency of Vitamin D?

There has been an age old question that scientists could not answer: Why is the flu most prevalent in winter? Fever, sore throat, cough, body pains and nausea all signal the onset of this debilitating condition. A fascinating new theory seeks to explain why flu takes hold during the winter months and why it infects mostly the elderly and those who are more sedentary. Dr. John Cannell is the chief author of a landmark theory that postulates that influenza epidemics are intimately linked to declining vitamin D levels. In California, Dr. Cannell works with patients at a maximum-security hospitals for the criminally insane. In recent years, he had become aware that vitamin D is a unique compound with profound effects on human immunity. He lists bone health, cancer prevention and blood pressure lowering effects as an indication that “vitamin D is really quite different from other vitamins.” Dr. Cannell postulated (Read More)