Influenza Virus natural treatment, benefit and risk of vaccine, should you get a flu vaccine each year
March 7 2017 by
Ray Sahelian, M.D.


Influenza virus type A and influenza virus B virus cause epidemics of disease almost every winter. In the United States, these winter influenza epidemics can cause illness in 10% to 20% of people and are associated with an average of 36,000 deaths and 114,000 hospitalizations per year. Getting a flu shot can prevent illness from types A and B influenza viruses. Influenza type C virus infections cause a mild respiratory illness and are not thought to cause epidemics. The flu shot does not protect against type C influenza virus. See ways on how to immune system with natural supplements, herbs and vitamins in order to reduce your risk of coming down with a viral infection. Influenza infection can occasionally precipitate the occurrence of Guillain-Barre syndrome. See also swine flu epidemic information.


Unlike colds, the flu comes on suddenly and lasts more than a few days. In the United States, flu season peaks between December and February. Although colds and the flu share some signs, the flu can lead to more serious symptoms, including fever, headache, chills, dry cough, body aches and fatigue. Influenza can also cause nausea and vomiting among young children.


Infants born to mothers who received flu immunization during pregnancy are less likely to contract lab-confirmed influenza less likely to be hospitalized for flu before age 6 months, compared with infants of unimmunized mothers.


Dietary prevention or treatment, are there natural cures?
Food Chem. 2012. Anti-influenza A virus effects of fructan from Welsh onion (Allium fistulosum).

Influenza is the leading cause of pneumonia in the U.S.. Receiving the flu shot is an effective way to prevent the flu and its complications. Children, teachers and health workers are among those at greatest risk for catching and transmitting flu-type infections based on the amount of contact they have with others.

Recommended groups for flu vaccination:
. Persons who want to reduce their risk of illness or transmitting influenza;
. Persons 50 years of age and older;
. Residents of long-term care facilities;
. Children from 6 months to 5 years of age;
. Women who will be pregnant during the flu season;
. Persons with a medical condition that puts them at risk for flu complications (e.g. chronic heart or lung conditions, diabetes, or HIV/AIDS); and
. Health care workers

Influenza Virus Type A
Influenza type A viruses are divided into subtypes based on two proteins on the surface of the virus. These proteins are called hemagglutinin (H) and neuraminidase (N). The current subtypes of influenza A viruses found in people are A(H1N1) and A(H3N2). Influenza B virus is not divided into subtypes. Influenza Influenza A Virus ParticlesA(H1N1), A(H3N2), and influenza B strains are included in each year's influenza vaccine.


Influenza Virus in Los Angeles

Public Health has recently identified a late season increase in type B influenza virus occurring in Los Angeles County; type A influenza virus peaked as usual in December 2006. Since type B influenza virus strains are more stable and less likely to undergo seasonal changes, they typically affect infants and children as opposed to adults who are often immune by either natural exposure or vaccination. So influenza virus should remain in a doctor's differential diagnosis of upper respiratory infection. More importantly, treatment and prophylaxis decisions are limited since only two antivirals are effective against type B influenza virus strains- zanamivir and oseltamivir. However, antivirals should be prescribed only for seriously ill patients or those with comorbidities.


Increased risk for heart attacks
Dr. Charlotte Warren-Gash from the Royal Free Hospital, London says influenza might act as an acute inflammatory and procoagulant stimulus transiently altering endothelial function. In animal studies, the researchers note, influenza RNA has been found in atherosclerotic plaques and inoculation with influenza A virus has been shown to cause inflammatory cell infiltration of plaques, platelet aggregation, and thrombosis. Lancet Infect Disease 2009.


Influenza and Leukemia
From 1974 to 2000, peaks in the rate of the acute lymphoblastic type of leukemia (ALL) among children in the UK seem to have occurred immediately after influenza epidemics. Perhaps some childhood leukemia may be triggered by influenza virus infection occurring close to the time of diagnosis of leukemia. The findings are based on an analysis of data from the National Registry of Childhood Tumours, which covers the entire childhood population of the UK. During the 27-year period covered by the study, the rate of childhood ALL increased by 0.7 percent annually, on average. However, the rate spiked upward slightly in 1976 and 1990, just after influenza epidemics. Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 2006.

Drug interactions
According to a pair of studies published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases in 2015, statins may have the unintended consequence of reducing immune response to and effectiveness of influenza vaccination.


Some sources suggest influenza vaccine is highly recommended for pregnant women, protecting the woman, the newborn, and even the fetus.