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? The conventional wisdom has always been that the flu occurs in the colder months because viruses flourish in the colder weather. Not so! The evidence has been around for many years, but, as with so many truths, no one was willing to give it credence until they were willing to look at another theory. Dr. R. Edgar Hope-Simpson, a British M.D., did some record keeping and connected flu outbreaks with the shortest day in the year, which varies depending on how far, north or south you are. In the tropics, the shortest days are usually in their rainy season with overcast skies. He postulated:  Is it possible that the lack of sunshine caused a shortage of vitamin D, which was connected to a vulnerability to the flu? A fascinating new theory (Read More)

Why Bacteria Are Becoming Drug-Resistant

People suffering from bronchitis, flu, and other ailments often leave their doctor’s office with a prescription for antibiotics— even though in many cases it will do nothing to help them. Nearly one-third of the antibiotics taken in this country are unnecessary, says the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), despite decades of warnings that overprescribing is helping fuel the alarming surge in drug-resistant superbugs. All told, the study found, some 47 million unwarranted antibiotic prescriptions are being written out each year. Many of them are for viral illnesses the drugs can’t treat, such as colds and sore throats, or for sinus infections, typically caused by fungi that aren’t affected by antibiotics. The researchers say it’s likely they’ve even underestimated the problem, because they didn’t consider antibiotics doled out over the phone and in urgent-care centers, or cases in which doctors prescribed the wrong antibiotic to treat a genuine (Read More)

Protect yourself from the worst flu season in nearly a decade

With tens of thousands of patients flocking to hospitals and at least 37 children dead, this year’s flu season is shaping up to be the worst in nearly a decade — and it’s not over yet. At a time when experts hoped new cases would start tapering off, federal health officials said Friday that the number of patients seeking care for flulike symptoms continues to rise sharply. Nearly 12,000 people have been hospitalized with confirmed cases of flu, an increase of 3,000 in just one week, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The latest report, for the week ending Jan. 20, shows the rate of people seeking care now rivals that of the swine-flu pandemic of 2009. The CDC estimates that every year since 2010, influenza has resulted in 9.2 million to 35.6 million illnesses, 140,000 to 710,000 hospitalizations, and 12,000 to 56,000 deaths in the U.S. As (Read More)

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)

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)