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To say the COVID pandemic has made much about the last couple of years difficult would be an understatement.
But just as we are seeing some relief on that front, experts say there’s one more thing we might be able to lay at the feet of COVID…
A bad flu season.
According to researchers at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, the flu, which has been virtually non-existent over the past almost two years, could come roaring back with a vengeance.
Suppressing COVID, setting the stage for flu
The scientists say that the increased flu risk we could be facing are due to the pandemic suppression measures we’ve all been practicing.
And it makes sense.
They point out that between social distancing, masking and lockdowns, we’ve effectively been keeping flu from circulating too.
But now that many of us are getting back to at least a somewhat more normal life, that’s suppression is going down.
“In the short term, measures to control the spread of the coronavirus will likely continue to suppress the number of influenza infections, but after these measures are relaxed, with greater population-wide immune susceptibility to influenza could lead to a large outbreak,” says senior author Sen Pei, Ph.D., assistant professor of environmental health sciences.
They say that over the last decade, U.S. influenza deaths ranged from 12,000 in 2011-12 to 61,000 in 2017-2018.
And according to their computer model’s projections, as public health measures are relaxed, a large-scale influenza outbreak will likely take place.
Additionally, the researchers anticipate that the global suppression of influenza activity during the pandemic may make it difficult to predict future circulating strains to inform the production of influenza vaccines. As a result, vaccine effectiveness might be reduced.
And if all that weren’t enough, there’s more.
The scientists say that suppression of flu during the pandemic could also lead to a surge of multiple influenza strains, including the A/H3 strain which has a high mortality rate and hasn’t been widely circulating since the 2018-2019 season.
The time to prepare is now
All of this means that it’s time to start prepping your immune system to be ready to fight if that bad flu season really does hit.
As Dr. Pei points out, “This year, it’s more important than ever to get your flu shot. While we’re rightly focused on protecting ourselves against COVID-19, we shouldn’t forget about the flu, which can be fatal.”
If you have questions about the safety of taking the flu vaccine and COVID-19 vaccines together, you can learn more here.
In the meantime, how can you prep your immune system up?
- Elderberry – This berry doesn’t just have flu-fighting power, it actually guards your immune cells and stimulates the release of certain chemicals that increase the effectiveness of your immune response. Elderberry syrup is popular and elderberry is also often part of immune supplement formulas.
- Fiber – This one might sound weird but one study discovered that certain types of fiber can boost antiviral immunity by activating the body’s T cells to fight infection.
- Vitamins C plus D – Studies show that these two vitamins should be at the top of your list when it comes to shoring up your immune function.
- Food additives – Getting ready to fight the flu isn’t just about what you should take, it’s about what you shouldn’t – especially since certain food additives make fighting off viruses more difficult.
Finally, if you do end up with flu this year, here are 10 unusual remedies that could help boost your immunity and speed your recovery.
Editor’s note: There are numerous safe and natural ways to decrease your risk of blood clots including the 25-cent vitamin, the nutrient that acts as a natural blood thinner and the powerful herb that helps clear plaque. To discover these and more, click here for Hushed Up Natural Heart Cures and Common Misconceptions of Popular Heart Treatments!
Is a Bad Flu Season Coming? Study Projects Sharp Rebound Following Relaxation of COVID Distancing Measures. – Columbia Mailman School of Public Health