The flu virus sends Americans into a panic every winter. CDC estimates that from October 1, 2019, through April 4, 2020 there have been 39 million to 56 million people infected with influenza.
While this flu season is around the corner, you may need to be aware of a surprising ally in combating influenza — the common cold virus.
Why common colds can combat influenza?
A research released in the journal The Lancet Microbe points out the possible effect of the common cold virus on influenza prevention.
A Yale University team studied three years of clinical data of more than 13,000 patients with symptoms of the respiratory infection at the Yale New Haven Hospital. They found that even during months when both viruses were active, if the rhinovirus (the most common cause of common colds) was present, the flu virus was not.
Researchers took further experiments to test the interaction between the rhinovirus and the influenza virus. The results showed that the presence of rhinovirus can trigger the production of the antiviral agent interferon, thus protecting the body against the flu.
How do you cope with the coming flu season?
While these findings can be exciting for researchers to study the influenza virus, you may not be willing to catch a cold to avoid the flu. The surest way to cope with the approaching flu season is to take necessary precautions.
Get a flu vaccine by the end of October. The single best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get a flu vaccine each year. A flu vaccine will help your body releases antibodies that can protect you from the most common virus strains in any given season.
Stay at least three feet away from people who are coughing or sneezing. And if you are sick, limit contact with others.
Wash hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
Stay at home and avoid crowds as much as possible. The flu spreads fast in confined spaces like hotels and theaters.
Exercise to boost immunity.
Get plenty of sleep. Sufficient sleep helps keep the optimal immune system functioning.
Keep an immune system-friendly diet. Antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, such as blueberries, tomatoes, and sweet potatoes, can help strengthen your body’s inner protection system.
Relax and manage your stress. Psychological stress diminishes the effect of the flu vaccine.
Take flu antiviral drugs if necessary. If you are sick with the flu, ask your doctor for some flu antiviral drugs. They can make flu illness milder and shorten the time you are sick.
The approaching season may be hard to deal with, but you can ride it out by following the prevention tips above. Take care.