Why Baby Boomers Have Little Protection Against This Season’s Flu

In All Health Watch, Featured Article, General Health, Health Warning

It’s a bad year to be a baby boomer.

Here’s why…

Your flu risk is linked to your birth year. The first flu strain that made you sick is the one that you are most protected from.1

Studies have found that your first flu exposure gives you 75% protection against that strain. By comparison, the flu shot is 60% effective at best. (This year’s version is expected to be about 30% effective.)2

Professor Michael Worobey of the University of Arizona is a prominent flu researcher. “There is something kind of magical about the first time you have an influenza response,” he said. “It does seem to lock you into this imprinted immunity.”

This year’s most prevalent type of flu is the H3N2 strain. So far, 78% of all patient samples genetically sequenced this season have been H3N2. It first appeared in Hong Kong in 1968.

Most people born before that year had their first flu exposure from either the H1N2 or H2N2 strains.3

That means Baby Boomers are particularly susceptible to the flu this season. And they are being hit hard.

Forty-nine states report widespread flu. Only Hawaii is getting off easier. Last year at this time, just 12 states reported widespread flu activity.4

Hospitals are filling with flu patients. Medical centers in Southern California and Texas were so busy they had to set up MASH unit style tents to treat flu victims.

And it could get much worse. This is just the start of the season.

What to Do If You Get the Flu

The CDC pushes the antiviral drug Tamiflu (oseltamivir). It says that if you get the medication in the first few days after getting the flu, it will make you better faster.

But there are several problems… First, it’s hard to know in the first days of being sick whether you have a cold or the flu. Tamiflu won’t help a cold. By the time it’s clear you have the flu, it’s often too late for Tamiflu to work.

In clinical studies, Tamiflu doesn’t work very well. It shortens the duration of the flu by one day at best. And the drug often brings on stomach troubles like diarrhea and vomiting. Who needs that when they’re already sick?5

One Flu Symptom You Should Never Ignore

Most people recover from the flu without any medical treatment. But there’s one symptom that should prompt you to go to the hospital immediately: shortness of breath.

It’s a sign your flu might be progressing to pneumonia. It can be serious, even fatal.6

The best flu treatment may be the simplest one: Drink lots of water. Drink a cup or so of water every hour. Avoid caffeine and sweetened drinks.

Adequate fluid will help relieve your headache and bolster your immune response. That explains why so many flu sufferers crave soup and watery fruits like citrus and melon. Exposure to fresh air and sunlight also can speed your recovery.7

One more thing… The flu makes you want to do nothing but lie in bed. But it’s a bad idea stay flat on your back all day.

This collapses your lungs so you can’t cough efficiently, which can trap germs in your respiratory tract. That can lead to pneumonia. Try to get up and move around every few hours.

Editor’s Note: There are 31 secrets that build your immune system… And we’ve put them all together for you in our report, Bulletproof Your Immunity: Easy Ways to Protect Your Health.

Get all the details HERE.

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1 http://www.cnn.com/2016/11/10/health/flu-risk-birth-year/index.html
2 https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/18/health/flu-season-facts.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=second-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news
3 http://science.sciencemag.org/content/354/6313/706
4 https://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/index.htm
5 http://www.center4research.org/tamiflu-not-tamiflu/
6 https://www.livescience.com/61414-you-have-flu-should-you-go-to-doctor.html
7 https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/12/well/live/flu-h3n2-virus-care-remedy.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fhealth&action=click&contentCollection=health&region=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=6&pgtype=sectionfront