The People's Perspective on Medicine

Watch Out for a Second Wave of Flu

CDC reports that a second wave of flu is sweeping the southeastern US. Instead of the milder H1N1 most common earlier this season, the new flu is H3N2.

By the end of 2018, influenza activity was heavy around the country. This year, the predominant strain of influenza virus causing infection was H1N1. It caused less severe illness and fewer hospitalizations than the H3N2 strain that circulated last year (2017-18). But although flu season should be winding down, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are warning about a second wave of flu.

Where Is the Second Wave of Flu?

Earlier this year, tests showed that the most common strain of flu virus was H1N1. Almost 70 percent of the tests to date identified that strain.

Now, however, the H3N2 strain is becoming more common. In March 2019, about 60 percent of the influenza tests revealed H3N2. That is the same strain that caused such a terrible flu season last year. The southeastern states are being hit especially hard with this second wave of flu.

Avoiding the Flu: 

Both strains are covered in this year’s flu vaccine, and experts report that the flu shot reduced the number of cases that needed medical attention by 47 percent. With a second wave of flu underway, it’s still not too late to request a vaccination. It does take about two weeks before the vaccine results in a good immune response, however. 

Fortunately, there is a new antiviral medicine on the market. Xofluza is a one-dose flu treatment that can shorten the duration of flu symptoms if taken within 48 hours of influenza onset. It is pricey, though. One pill of baloxavir (the generic name for Xofluza) can cost over $160.

An older oral antiviral medicine, Tamiflu, is now available in generic form as oseltamivir. With a coupon, it costs about one third as much as Xofluza.

Don’t Share the Flu Virus:

If you come down with symptoms of fever, cough, congestion and muscle aches, stay home so you don’t spread the germs around. Herbs to strengthen the immune system such as Andrographis or Astragalus may help prevent infection. Medicinal mushrooms may also boost the immune response to help you ward off the second wave of flu.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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A woman who received the flu vaccine got 2 strains of the flu and was hospitalized for 3 days. Of course the doctors said she would have gotten pneumonia without it! I got the flu 3 months after the vaccine.

Suggestions for keeping the immune system healthy would be good to post here?

To strengthen the immune system I take:
Vitamin C, [lots and regularly throughout the day]
D, Zinc, B100.
Lots and lots of garlic.
Mushroom 7. [magnesium?]

Drinking purified water all day.
Sleep and keeping the immune system healthy.
What have I missed?

Christie, please speak for you only. I am one of those as you call vaccine resisters, and I will resist it for as long as I can. I never had the flu as a child but I got it in 1998 when I took the flu shot. Like I said, I never had the flu before or after but I got it then, and I was so sick for 6 weeks I had to be off from work so I missed 6 weeks of pay. I was talked into getting the vaccine by my manager’s’ wife who also took the vaccine. Guess what? She also got the flu that she never had before! Two people take the flu shot and come down with the flu. That’s not a coincident don’t you think? The vaccine weakens your immune system and makes you vulnerable to many illnesses including the “FLU.” Healthy immune systems work!!! I take my vitamins that take care of my health!

Keep in mind that there are still many ‘vaccine resisters’. The first round of flu was mild enough that resisters were convinced they could remain unvaccinated. This didn’t bode well for the vaccinators so they circulated the more serious second round of flu virus so that hopefully resisters would feel more pressure to get the shot.

What are medicinal mushrooms? I’m unable to get a flu shot, and just wish the flu season were over so I live a normal life again. I try to stay home a lot.

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