Sniffles, sore throat, fever, and aches and pains may accompany a number of illnesses, but during the wintertime such symptoms are typically indicative of influenza.
Throughout much of North America, flu season peaks between December and February. But flu season can occur anywhere from October to March, advises the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The flu is contagious and can sideline people for extended periods of time. The CDC says that each year one in five Americans gets the flu.
Taking steps to fend off the flu can help men and women and the people they routinely come in contact with.
Food can be used to fend of the flu. Common foods that many people already have in their pantries can be powerful flu-fighters. Garlic, for example, contains compounds that have direct antiviral effects and may help destroy the flu before it affects the body. Raw garlic is best. In addition to garlic, citrus fruits, ginger, yogurt, and dark leafy greens can boost immunity and fight the flu, according to Mother Nature’s Network. The British Journal of Nutrition notes that dark chocolate supports T-helper cells, which increase the immune system’s ability to defend against infection.
A study published in the American Journal of Therapeutics showed that carnosine, a compound found in chicken soup, can help strengthen the body’s immune system and help fight off the flu in its early stages.
Flu shot and medications
Annual flu shots administered in advance of flu season can help protect people and their families from getting the flu. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says that, in select situations, antiviral medications - which are usually prescribed to treat the flu and lessen symptoms - can reduce the chance of illness in people exposed to influenza.