A recent article in the SF Chronicle Health Section reads: “H1N1 flu strain has returned with a vengeance”.

Indeed, the most recent CDC Health Alert “H1N1-Associated Illnesses for the 2013-14 Influenza Season” did set off alarm bells throughout the medical community given that the 2009 H1N1 strain seems to have returned this year. As you may recall, this strain affects the younger generation, 20’s – mid-50’s, as they were born after the most recent pandemic in the late 1950’s and therefore have not conferred immunity.

As a result, this year I have increased the vigor with which I am recommending flu vaccine. While the season may have reached it’s peak already, there remains another two months of activity and there will likely be a smaller recurrence in the spring months again. In addition to getting the flu vaccine, additional things to consider are:

  1. Reduce chances of infection by frequent hand washing and avoiding touching your mouth, eyes, or nose.
  2. Reduce chances of infection by boosting your immunity with adequate sleep, naps, regular exercise, and managing your stress. You might also consider supplements that can improve your immune function such as medicinal mushroom formulas (e.g. Stamets 7 by Fungi Perfecti).

If you do get infected, it’s best to start treatment in the first 24-48 hours. I recommend Oscillococcum (a homeopathic remedy) and/or Tamiflu or Relenza, each shown in clinical trials to be effective in reducing severity and duration of the influenza.

Wishing you well through this winter season!

Dr. Brad Jacobs