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Flu season is officially here. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) has confirmed that the illness is widespread throughout 43 states, including North Carolina. For the week of December 29 through January 5, WakeMed reported 240 cases of positive flu diagnosis.
This year, the influenza A H3N2 strain of the virus is particularly prevalent and has mutated or changed since being included in the flu vaccine. In past seasons during which this occurred, decreased vaccine effectiveness was observed. However, it is still critically important to receive your flu vaccine. The flu vaccine still provides protection against other strains of flu, such as H1N1 and Influenza B, and it also essentially “teaches” your body how to make the antibodies needed to fight the flu, which is paramount.
In addition to receiving the flu vaccine, there are some things you can do to help protect your body from illness and give your immune system an added boost. WakeMed Cary Hospital clinical dietitian Parul Kharod offered this helpful advice:
“Anything that you can do to help reduce infammation in your body will be beneficial to your immune system,” explained Kharod.
In terms of nutrition and diet, Kharod said that these elements are key:
“More and more research has shown that you should get your immune-boosting vitamins and minerals directly from food, as opposed to taking a daily vitamin or other supplement,” added Kharod.
And of course regular and thorough hand washing is always strongly recommended when it comes to avoiding germs.
Learn more about the flu and strategies for helping to prevent illness on our website. We hope you and your family are able to stay healthy and well!
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