Influenza outbreaks higher than ever in children and young adults
In addition to concerns about the Coronavirus emerging in Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada has already reported a significant increase in influenza outbreaks and the season has yet to reach its peak. Find out complementary measures that can help in the prevention and the treatment of colds and flu symptoms.
Strains of both influenza A and B have resulted in over 946 hospitalizations thus far across Canada. Cases of influenza B are circulating at higher levels than usual and earlier in the year. According to FluWatch, cases of the strain are usually only reported in February or March.
What's more, the strain is also affecting a primarily younger age group, with 55 per cent of influenza B cases affecting people under the age of 20. Thirty two per cent affected people between the age of 20 and 44.
Cases of influenza A remain the "predominate circulating type," according to FluWatch. The majority of hospitalizations have been due to influenza A (90%), and among those 77% were subtyped H1N1. This year over half of those identified with the H1N1 strain range between the ages of 20 to 64, ages that typically fall within the lower risk categories.
While health officials maintain that the best defense against influenza is vaccination, this year's effectiveness has yet to be determined.
"Considering the results from previous years and the changing strains of viruses currently attacking the population, now more than ever, it is important that Canadians consider complementary measures that can help in the prevention, and if necessary the treatment of colds and flu," said Sherry Torkos, pharmacist and author of the Canadian Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine.
A.Vogel's Echinaforce®, made from fresh, organic Echinacea purpurea is approved by Health Canada to be a safe and effective prevention technique that can be taken on its own or combined with the flu shot for optimal protection.
Extensive clinical research has proven its ability to help Canadians, aged 2 and up, (including pregnant and nursing women) significantly reduce their chances of falling victim to seasonal viruses despite their strain.
Additional research shows that participants who did get sick had fewer symptoms, shorter sick time and a 65% reduced risk for complications such as bronchitis, pneumonia and sinusitis.
"Because there is a great variance among echinacea products, I always emphasize the importance of choosing one that has been clinically researched with proven efficacy. Echinaforce by A.Vogel has been demonstrated to have broad antiviral effects, including activity against H1N1 and H3N2," said Torkos.
With cases of influenza at a high level across Canada, Canadians need to practice extra caution for both themselves and their loved ones.
It's all in your hands Avoid handshakes and touching your face. Wash your hands thoroughly (minimum of 20 seconds) after the bathroom, an outing and before each meal to keep germs at bay.
Eat well and hydrate Eat plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables and lean proteins. During the winter months we tend to be more dehydrated so drink plenty of water (8 glasses per day).
Keep your cool
Reduce stress, it hampers the immune system. A few minutes of meditation and deep breathing per day can make a world of difference. Yoga is great for getting back your chi plus exercise provides great immune support.
Catch those needed ZZZ's
Make sure to get at least 7- 8 hours of sleep at night and nap when you're tired. A tired body means your immune system isn't as fired up as it could be and you're more susceptible to getting sick.
Bundle up and get outdoors for some fresh air. Get rid of stale and potentially infected air by opening the windows morning, noon and night for 5-10 minutes.
References: https://www.canada.ca/en/publi... Melia E Bonomo, Michael W Deem. Predicting Influenza H3N2 Vaccine Efficacy from Evolution of the Dominant Epitope. Clinical Infectious Diseases, 2018; DOI: 10.1093/cid/ciy323 Gallo M et Koren G. Motherisk Update: Can herbal products be used safely during pregnancy? Focus on Echinacea. Canadian Family Physician • Le Médecin de famille canadien ❖ VOL 47: SEPTEMBER • SEPTEMBRE 2001
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