It's hard to say what's more virulent, the 2013 flu outbreak or the spread of hysterical headlines about it. But this year it seems like the flu hype is warranted—the CDC just announced that deaths from the flu have reached epidemic levels (though, for some good news, it appears that deaths have peaked).
So, should you get a flu shot (if you haven't already)? The CDC and medical authorities say yes, and as my HGS colleague Barbara Kantrowitz reported the other day this year's seasonal flu shot is said to be a good match with the flu strain going around, meaning that it should be more effective than past seasonal flu shots.
But if you want an alternative take on whether to get a flu shot, check out this recent article in Scientific American, which reveals the failings of flu shots, especially for the elderly and very young.
Whether you get the shot or not you should do everything you can to avoid being a victim of the flu outbreak. To find out whether it's hitting your area hard, check out this Google map which attempts to reveal which states and cities have the most cases of flu.
And check out these sources of intriguing if (in some cases) unconventional flu prevention tricks:
- This interesting post by Paleo blogger Chris Kresser is packed with tips on preventing colds and flu naturally, including consuming fermented cod liver oil and a Chinese formula called Jade Windscreen.
- Eat more cruciferous vegetables. They help immune cells function properly.
Some natural flu prevention and treatment strategies from Dr. Brian Clement, the co-director of the Hippocrates Health Institute, a West Palm Beach, Florida healthy-living spa retreat center:
- Sip ACV: "Twice a day mix two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with 8-12 oz. of water. This soothes the stomach, fights colds and gives an incredible boost of energy. Apple cider vinegar is available at your local grocery store."
- Sprinkle some sprouts: "Use sprouted garlic and onion in a green veggie juice or in salads (sprouted garlic and onions are available at most health food stores). Garlic and onion boost cells in the body that destroy infection causing viruses and bacteria."
- Heat things up:"If you're suffering from congestion, sprinkle dried cayenne pepper on your salad at lunch, use in your favorite dinner recipe or take 10 drops a day in liquid form. The active ingredient in cayenne is capsaicin, which alleviates congestion and thins the mucus in your nasal passages so you can breathe again."
- Experiment with OSHA: "Take 10 drops of this biobotanical every day. Osha root is commonly used as a multi-therapy for cold and flu symptoms. The root has antiviral and antibacterial properties and, when taken at the onset of cold or flu, may help reduce the window of time in which symptoms are experienced. Osha root helps clear mucus from the sinuses and lungs by increasing expectoration; this relieves congestion and makes breathing easier."
More on flu prevention: