By Lorie Johnson
CBN News — As the death toll from the flu continues to rise, almost every state in America is reporting widespread outbreaks, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
So far, nearly 30 children have died from the flu this season, including 5-year-old Scarlett Taylor of Tacoma, Washington.
Her mother, Rebecca Taylor, recalls thinking her daughter had a cold and was treating her at home until her daughter began having difficulty breathing, at which time she was taken to the hospital where she later died.
“I feel like, you know, if I would have known more about this flu maybe I would have taken her to the doctor’s on Wednesday instead of Friday. Maybe she’d still be here,” Taylor lamented.
Scarlett did not receive the flu vaccine this year, but it probably would not have helped her anyway. This season’s flu vaccine does not protect against the strain Scarlett had, H3N2, which is the predominant strain sweeping the country.
Doctors say antiviral drugs like Tamiflu and Relenza can reduce the severity and the duration of the flu. These are prescription medications that are most effective when taken within two days of experiencing flu symptoms.
Flu symptoms include fever, head and body aches, fatigue, cough, and congestion. Flu symptoms are similar to the symptoms associated with the common cold, except flu symptoms are more severe and present themselves more suddenly.
People who benefit the most from antiviral medications are those at greatest risk of dying from the flu: people over age 65 and the very young, as well as people with chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, asthma, and heart disease.
The best way to prevent catching the flu in the first place is by washing your hands often with warm, soapy water, making sure to lather for at least 20 seconds.
If soap and water are not available, hand sanitizer is a good substitute. Just make sure it contains at least 70 percent alcohol. Don’t touch your eyes, nose, mouth, or food unless your hands are clean.
You’re less likely to catch the flu if you have a strong immune system. That involves getting lots of sleep and loading up on vitamins, either through the health foods you eat, with supplements, or both.
Also, make sure you’re getting plenty of vitamin C, vitamin D, magnesium, and zinc. Fish oil helps prevent inflammation and coconut oil is a natural antimicrobial.
Finally, stay away from sugar, which has been shown to increase inflammation.
Report via CBN News
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.