Friday April 3, 2020

US Health Officials Prepare to Battle Flu Season as Coronavirus Fear Rises

US Prepares for Second Wave of Flu as Coronavirus Fears Rise

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Coronavirus
While there have only been 15 confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States as of Friday, health officials have expressed concern that if the virus were to spread in the country. Pixabay

U.S. health officials are preparing for a second wave of the winter flu season, complicated this year by similarities between flu symptoms and those of the coronavirus that has killed more than 1,500 in China and spread fear around the world.

A first round of seasonal flu, caused by a strain of influenza B, named B-Victoria for the city in which it was discovered, peaked in the United States in late December and then dropped off, according to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

However, the CDC says a second round of flu began in late January, caused by a strain of influenza A that is related to the swine flu that first appeared in 2009, and cases continue to increase.

Coronavirus
Cesar Gonzalez reacts to getting an influenza vaccine shot at Eastfield College in Mesquite, Texas. VOA

While there have only been 15 confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States as of Friday, health officials have expressed concern that if the virus were to spread in the country, it could initially look like the spread of seasonal flu.

Coronavirus testing

In part to address these concerns, U.S. health officials announced they would begin testing some patients who have flulike symptoms for coronavirus in several U.S. cities.

The testing will initially be carried out by public health labs in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago and New York, which are already testing for seasonal flu.

Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, told reporters in a telephone briefing Friday that labs will conduct the coronavirus test on patients who show flulike respiratory symptoms, but who test negative for the seasonal flu.

Both the seasonal flu and coronavirus cause respiratory illness, fever and cough. Other typical flu symptoms include sore throat, muscle aches, runny nose and fatigue, according to the CDC.

While scientists have studied the flu for decades, little is known about this coronavirus, dubbed COVID-19, because it is so new. Health officials are still trying to understand all the symptoms related to the new virus, as well has how it spreads and how often cases are severe. There have been few studies on the symptoms of coronavirus, however, research suggests patients most commonly suffer from fever, cough and shortness of breath and are less likely than flu patients to suffer from a sore throat and runny nose.

To prevent the spread of the coronavirus to the United States, CDC officials have put in place travel restrictions and quarantine policies for people who recently visited China. However, officials say that strategy would change if the virus were to spread quickly in the United States.

Messonnier said if there were an outbreak of coronavirus in the United States, the CDC would call for “social distancing” strategies that would include online schooling, teleworking, and canceling mass gatherings, in an effort to prevent people from spreading the virus.

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Passengers arrive at LAX from Shanghai, China, after a positive case of the coronavirus was announced in the Orange County suburb of Los Angeles, California, U.S. VOA

Flu kills 14,000 in US

While health officials put plans in place for any possible outbreak of coronavirus, doctors around the United States continue to help patients battle the seasonal flu. The CDC estimates that 26 million Americans have gotten sick with flu this season and around people 14,000 have died.

Health officials say the first wave of the flu, a B strain, has hit children particularly hard this season, causing 92 deaths in children. B strains are more likely to cause a more severe illness and death in children. Cases of the flu among the elderly have been down this season.

Also Read- Find Out Why You Need to Replace Unhealthy Beverages with Green Tea

The CDC says concern about coronavirus might have prompted more people with flu symptoms to go their doctor for testing this season, although they say there is nothing in their data to confirm this. Messonnier said if more people are going to the doctor that is a good thing. “

People being a little worried and seeking care doesn’t especially worry me, because that’s the point,” she said. (VOA)

Next Story

Time to Make Your Immune System Stronger

10 easy steps to build a stronger immune system

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Add some superfoods in your diet to build up your immune system. Pixabay

We often see how people around us get affected by viral infections and fevers easily; they have to keep making visits to the doctor at regular intervals.

Dr Sheryl Salis, Registered Dietician and Certified Diabetes Educator states that this is all a result of their poor immune system and shares easy ways to boost your immunity.

Salis adds, “The immune system acts as a defense mechanism against disease-causing microorganisms and protects us from all viruses and microbes that our body is exposed to daily.

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Can you imagine having no gatekeeper to fight and defend your body against various germs and microbes exposed every day? No right? Well, that’s how important it is to build a strong immune system by improving your diet and making the necessary lifestyle changes.”

Follow these ten steps to to build a strong immune system:

1. Switch/Add Morigna Green teas/Green Teas/Green Coffees for health benefits

Sip on Superfood Moringa Green tea, it is formulated to give you all the benefits of Green Tea combined with the power of the superfood Moringa. It is packed with vitamins and minerals. It is rich in vitamin C and has antioxidants properties which helps boost immunity. It helps maintain bone and joint health, helps regulate metabolism and aids in weight management.

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Vitamin C can strengthen your immune system. Pixabay

Similarly, unlike regular coffee, Green Coffee is unroasted and hence it has three times more antioxidant potential which is otherwise lost during the roasting process. It is a health booster that is high in antioxidants which helps boost immunity and aids in weight control and management.

2. Wash the Germs Away

Well, we’ve all heard this right since our school days and that’s how important it actually is. Wash all fruits and vegetables thoroughly, particularly leafy vegetables, cauliflower and broccoli as a precautionary measure before using them.

3. A Colorful Plate

Include colourful fruit and vegetables like pumpkin, bell peppers, carrots, tomatoes, papaya that add flavour to your palate. These are essentially rich in antioxidants and help you build a stronger immune system.

4. The Major Player – ‘Vitamin C’

Include foods rich in Vitamin C like orange, sweet lime, lemon, gooseberry, bell pepper, berries, tomato, dark leafy vegetables, cashew fruit, kiwi, strawberry, Brussel sprouts, broccoli, etc. which boost your immune system.

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Did you know? Amla has the highest Vit C content which is almost equal to the Vit C of two oranges. Amla has potent anti -viral and antioxidant properties. Dried amla is as good as fresh amla as it contains substances which partially protect the vitamin C from destruction on heating or drying.

5. Add Zinc to your diet

Foods rich in zinc such as nuts, whole grains, legumes, yeast, dairy products also help boost immune function and are highly recommended to be incorporated in the diet.

6. Soups with Superfoods

Soups are one of the best options for those evening hunger pangs. Soup essentially makes for the ultimate evening snack as it is not only low in calories but also gives much needed satiety. It is a convenient and nourishing option to keep you warm and agile. These days, you get instant-ready soup with superfoods; they are so nutritious that it has up to four times the protein content compared to regular soups.

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Soups with superfoods are considered to be very healthy for your immune system. Pixabay

7. Enhance Digestion and stay Hydrated

It surely helps if you use garlic, pepper, ginger, asafetida (hing), cumin seeds/powder, turmeric, moringa, lemongrass, basil, and coriander in cooking as they help enhance digestion and improve immunity. Did you know that adding black pepper to the turmeric helps in the absorption of active ingredients in turmeric? You can mix and add it to food especially soups.

8. Spice Up Your Meal

Pepper rasam and sambhar has all the essential spices and is just right to boost your immune system. Spices tend to be very helpful in building a strong defense mechanism against viral infections. Ensure to include sambhar and rasam to your meals.

9. Kill the Virus with these anti-viral foods

Garlic, Fennel, Basil, Cloves and Tulsi have anti-viral properties that help you maintain and boost your immune system whilst you stay prepared to fight the viral infections and flus

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10. Drink Healthy Juices

Try these healthy juice combinations like Beetroot + Carrot + Spinach + Amla + Ginger or Apple + Beetroot + Carrot + Ginger + Lemon + Celery. These juices not only energize you and help you maintain youthfulness but also help boost your immune system in an efficient manner.

We can boost our immune systems by adding the above mentioned foods easily available in our kitchen to build a stronger immune system without letting us compromise on our favorite meals.

Also Read- Researchers Develop AI Algorithm That Can Diagnose Skin Diseases

It is extremely important to build a strong immune system which will work in our defense during times of distress.

Stay safe and healthy! (IANS)