It’s a common story ; a child comes home from school with a headache and fever. Within a week or two, every person in the house has caught the flu.
Swine flu may be in the news, but seasonal flu shouldn’t be ignored — according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 200,000 people are hospitalized with flu each year, with 36,000 dying from flu-related causes.
The CDC predicts that this year will see an early-starting flu season. The combined threat of H1N1, or swine flu, and seasonal flu may cause more hospital stays and deaths than normal, making it especially important to protect your family from flu.
Because children face a higher risk of developing flu-related complications, the CDC recommends that all children aged 6 months to 19 years receive seasonal flu vaccinations. Seniors, pregnant women and those caring for children too young to be vaccinated should also get flu shots.
But for the most part, avoiding the flu isn’t much different from avoiding any other illness -; you need a strong immune system during all seasons. Boosting the immune system can help children and adults avoid catching the flu, as well as lessen the severity and duration of symptoms if they do fall ill.
Strengthening one’s immune system isn’t rocket science. Healthy food, adequate sleep and regular exercise all help the immune system function at top capacity. Dietary supplements, such as high-quality probiotic microorganisms (“good” bacteria), may also help boost immune function.
One study published in the journal “Pediatrics” found that probiotic supplements caused a significant reduction in fever, cough and runny nose in children. A separate study, conducted in Sweden, revealed that patients taking probiotics were less likely to develop respiratory infections, like the common cold.
Foods like yogurt do contain probiotics, but supplements contain higher concentrations. Vidazorb chewable probiotic supplements are delicious, don’t require refrigeration, are shelf-stable for up to two years and are easy to take, even on a queasy stomach.