It's the middle of flu season and as expected, the virus is making its way through Canada. Thousands of people are struggling with the coughs, fever, and fatigue and looking for ways to deal with the weeks of suffering. Recently, a group of American researchers have shown a new means by which flu can survive and spread.
Seniors are the most significantly affected. In Canada, seniors represent 15 per cent of our population, yet account for up to 40 per cent of all influenza infections, the majority of all hospitalizations and deaths from influenza. Why? Because seniors are more likely to be frail and have chronic medical conditions that put them at high risk for influenza and its complications.
As the temperature continues to plunge this winter, many Canadians will turn to scarves -- and more recently necktubes -- to keep their necks and faces warm. These swatches of fabric ensure those areas left open by jackets and coats are kept safe from the prevailing winds and wayward flakes of snow. Yet, they may serve another purpose as protectors of our health.
I know the flu vaccine doesn't fully protect me or my family from getting the flu. It is just one of the many strategies that I use during flu season to keep us healthy like frequent hand washing, adequate rest and a balanced diet. Vaccination decisions are a touchy subject for many people, so here's a snapshot of recent research..
It has been recognized for many years that people 65 years and older are at greater risk of serious complications from the flu compared with young, healthy adults because our immune defenses become weaker with age. While flu seasons can vary in severity, during most seasons, people 65 years and older bear the greatest burden of severe flu disease.
Much like any viral infection, the invasion leads to a shutdown of normal processes as the virus uses up all the nutrients and resources to make more copies. Yet the mechanism of this takeover has been for the most part a mystery. That may change as a group of Israeli researchers have provided a glimpse at how influenza takes over the cell.
Researchers have known the immune system plays a role in fighting the virus and other parts of the body do change. But a detailed account of what happens at the site of battle has been for the most part a mystery. Now an international team of researchers have given us a glimpse into the war happening inside.
Exposure to bacteria and viruses along with mental and physical stressors can take a toll on our bodies, making us susceptible to illness. While we cannot always prevent the cold and flu, having a strong immune system is one of the best protections against these pathogens, and get us back to feeling ourselves quicker.
There is some debate as to whether or not being sick at work does increase the chances for a small-scaled outbreak. After all, unless a person comes into contact with the bodily fluids of a sick person, the risk may seem remote at best. It's generally known as personal distancing of the two-metre rule.
Flu season is likely to peak in February, as the temperature drops and the air becomes more cold and dry. How can we protect ourselves from this inevitable onslaught of flu and colds? One proven, natural way is with regular doses of elderberry, a fruit known for its health-giving and preventative powers since ancient times.
It's about that time of year when those cold and flu viruses will be making yet another surge across the country. For most of us, this will be just another moment where we've caught a bug. But for some, particularly men, the experience may cause a unique consequence more commonly known as the "man cold."