With the coronavirus hitting the headlines, let’s keep in mind our own local U.S. situation.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting high activity of influenza and influenza-like illnesses across the country. In its latest report, the CDC estimates that during this season in the United States, 9.7 million cases of flu have been diagnosed, 32 children and 4,800 adults have died due to influenza.
* CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses.
I couldn’t agree more. See my It’s time to get that flu shot post from October.
* While there are many different flu viruses, the flu vaccine protects against the three viruses that research suggests will be most common.
* The 2011-12 vaccine will protect against an influenza A H3N2 virus, an influenza B virus and the H1N1 virus that emerged in 2009 to cause a pandemic. For more information, visit www.cdc.gov/flu/about/season/.
* Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine as soon as the 2011-12 vaccines are available.
* Vaccination of high-risk persons is especially important to decrease their risk of severe flu illness.
* People at high risk of serious flu complications include young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes or heart and lung disease and people 65 years and older.
* Vaccination also is important for health care workers, and other people who live with or care for high-risk people to keep from spreading flu to high risk people.
* Children younger than 6 months are at high risk of serious flu illness, but are too young to be vaccinated. People who care for them should be vaccinated instead.
Getting a good night’s sleep and maintaining a healthy lifestyle are two ways to battle the flu bug, as its presence increases across the nation
Having a healthy immune system could also help you fight off the flu virus and other bugs if you are exposed, said Libby Richards, an associate professor of nursing who specializes in public health in Purdue University’s School of Nursing.
“There are many things about immunity that are beyond our control, but there are some things we can do to help maintain a strong immune system so we can take care of ourselves,” Richards said in a university news release.
Tips to help keep your immune system in tiptop shape include:
- Getting seven to nine hours of sleep a night.
- Maintaining a healthy weight.
- Eating lots of fruits and vegetables.
- Drinking plenty of fluids.
- Staying physically active.
- Not smoking.
- Limiting alcohol.
- Limiting stress.