image097-1Health officials are warning this flu season has been particularly hard on the young and the elderly and could last until May. Three strains of influenza viruses – influenza A (H3N2), 2009 influenza A (H1N1) and influenza B viruses – have been especially harsh in terms of the number of people infected and the severity of symptoms.

The same H1N1 virus emerged in 2009 to cause a pandemic. They have continued to circulate since that time, but this is the first season that the virus has circulated at high levels since the pandemic, according to the Centers of Disease Control weekly flu report. Forty states reported widespread influenza activity at the beginning of 2014. Of the 3,745 influenza-associated hos- pitalizations that have been reported this season, 61 percent have been in people 18 to 64 years old. The same pattern of more hospitalizations among younger people occurred during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, according to the CDC.

Besides getting your flu shot, washing your hands frequently and avoiding those who are infected with the flu, you should take a daily vitamin and eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds which provide optimal immunity. Also, get plenty of sleep, exercise and reduce your stress levels.

The American College of Chest Physicians report the high-dose vaccine stimulated sig- nificantly more protective antibodies against all three stra of the flu than did the corresponding regular dose vaccine.