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GREEN CHILI PICKLE AND A POST ON A SPICE/HERB CHILI/HOT PEPPER

GREEN CHILI PICKLE AND A POST ON A SPICE/HERB CHILI/HOT PEPPER

GREEN CHILI PICKLE AND A POST ON A SPICE/HERB CHILI/HOT PEPPER
Chili is the most valuable spice of the world and is gaining its popularity throughout the world, and now it is used in more and more cuisines of the world. India is the largest producer, consumer and exporter of chilies, which is 40% of the total world production. Chili production requires sunny, tropical, humid conditions with a good amount of rainfall. We have grown a lot of chilies in our kitchen garden when I was in Kenya. We had around 25 plants of 3-4 feet high and were producing a lot of green chilies, being small as a family we were not able to consume a lot, so were leaving the chilies on the plants itself to ripen. When their colour turned red, I used to collect and dry them in the hot sunny area of my garden, and later was grinding in my dry grinder to make red chili powder, which I used in my kitchen.
There are many different types, colors, shapes and mild to a very hot pungent taste of the chilies are available in the world. This spice – chili and chili powder are used in many cuisines of the world. Raw chilies are normally green in colour, but ripened chilies are yellow, orange and red in colour. Since it is impossible to tell how spicy a chili is just by looking at it, you will have to taste it to get an idea. Once you know how spicy it is then you can use it according to your taste.
In Indian cuisine, chili powder is used from ages, some chili powders are giving only a red colour to the recipe and are not very spicy like Kashmiri chili powder, it is more or less like paprika. But some chili powders are very hot, and people use it depending on their taste and the requirement of the recipe. In Southern states of India, whole red dried chili is used a lot in tempering many recipes. Red chili flakes/crushed chili is also used a lot in the Indian cuisine throughout India. Some people have the misconception that Indian food is very spicy, but that is not the case, yes, we do use different types of chilies in its different forms but how spicy the food absolutely depends on individuals choice. Green chilies are a good source of vitamin C; so many people eat raw green chilies with their food.
Some people think that chili pepper is consumed only to put fire on your tongue or to get tears in your eyes but the surprising fact is that chilies do have a lot of health benefits like natural pain relief, boosting immunity, clearing congestion, preventing stomach ulcers, and reducing weight. Check this website for detailed study of all this and a lot of useful information about chilies.
According to Ayurveda, there are six tastes by which all food can be categorized: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent and astringent. Pungent taste is hot and spicy as found in chili pepper and astringent is dry and light as found in popcorn. Ayurveda suggests that all these tastes should be included in every meal for optimum health and to get initial spark to the digestive system. These six tastes satisfy each of the major dietary building blocks and these six tastes also guide our body to accomplish its nutritional needs. Each taste feeds our body, mind, senses and spirit in its own unique way. Ayurveda is a traditional healing system of India, which gave us yoga and breathing exercises and still successfully practiced in India. Check this website-
Chili powder is eaten by one-quarter of world population every day, in all countries all over the globe. But chili powder was completely unknown to the most of the world until Christopher Columbus discovered America. Check this website which explains very nicely that of course, Columbus was not looking for chilies, but was looking for a trade route. This website further explained that, until well after the middle ages, almost all through the world, pepper travelled from the Malabar coast, India to Europe and then to America.
Coming to the recipe, this is my mom’s recipe as it is in which she used mustard oil. I get mustard oil from the local Indian grocery store, so I have also used mustard oil, but you can use any other oil instead if you prefer. Mustard oil is used for cooking in Punjab and many other Northern States of India. This is a simple and quick recipe which can be enjoyed using mild to hot chilies basing on your taste.
INGREDIENTS
  • 200 grams long green chilies (around 25-30)
  • 20 grams of black mustard seeds (rai)
  • 20 grams of fennel seeds (saunf)
  • 10 grams of fenugreek seeds (methi )
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons oil (I used mustard oil)
  • 10 grams chili powder (optional) *
* Normally these green chilies are not spicy/hot at all, so if you need some spice in this pickle you can add some additional chilli powder
  • Mix the fennel, mustard and fenugreek seeds and grind it coarsely in a dry spice grinder.
  • Wash and dry the chilies or wipe with a kitchen towel.
  • Slit the chilies in the middle lengthwise.
  • In the already ground spices, mix salt and chili powder and fill ( stuff) through the slit in all the chilies and leave aside.
  • Heat oil in a pan, when hot add all the chilies, mix slowly and cover it after 5 minutes add the remaining spice mixture on top of the chilies.
  • Cook for 8-10 minutes till the chilies are cooked and changed in colour.
  • Cool it and serve with meals as a condiments/pickle/chutney

Tabiat Suka Simpan Banyak Barang Petanda Masalah Mental. 5 Bahayanya Yang Ramai Tak Sedar

Tabiat Suka Simpan Banyak Barang Petanda Masalah Mental. 5 Bahayanya Yang Ramai Tak Sedar

“Sayangnya nak buang… Boleh pakai lagi ni. Letak sini dululah. Mana tau nak guna nanti.”

Kata orang, ‘less is more’. Tapi ada juga yang menganggap bahawa terdapat ‘nilai’ tersendiri dalam keserabutan.

Terdapat banyak perspektif dalam penjagaan rumah dan ruang peribadi. Salah satu amalan yang kian menjadi tabiat rakyat Malaysia adalah suka menyimpan barang berlebihan sebab nak berjimat atau ‘sayang’ nak dibuang disebabkan banyak ‘sentimental value’. 

Benar, sesetengah barang memang ada nilainya. Tapi sikap begini yang berlebihan hingga menimbulkan keserabutan dan mengorbankan keselesaan merupakan petanda penyakit mental atau ‘hoarding disorder’, seperti yang dilaporkan oleh Psychology Today.

Selain memberi kesan kepada emosi, barang-barang berlebihan tersebut bagaikan ‘beban’ yang boleh menjejaskan kesihatan fizikal dan produktiviti. Ini 5 kesan buruk yang akan dialami oleh pengamal tabiat tersebut.

Tabiat Suka Simpan Banyak Barang Petanda Masalah Mental. Ini 5 Bahayanya

Inilah 5 bahayanya kalau seseorang memiliki tabiat ‘hoarding’ atau terlalu suka menyimpan banyak barang.

1. Suasana Yang Mendorong Rasa Tertekan

Bila dapat simpan banyak barang, mungkin ada yang berasa lebih ‘selamat’ sebab tak perlu keluar duit untuk membeli lagi. Bila nak guna, semuanya dah tersedia. Tapi hakikatnya ia tetap juga disimpan walaupun 4-5 tahun tak pernah digunakan langsung!

Rumah sepatutnya menjadi tempat untuk merehatkan mental dan fizikal selepas seharian bekerja kini menjadi sesak tanpa disedari.

Sedikit demi sedikit, tekanan akibat barang berlebihan menjadi perudum semangat kita untuk memulakan rutin harian. Bahkan, rutin harian kita akan terganggu akibat terlalu banyak barang di sesuatu tempat.

Foto Kredit: houselogic.com

2. Mendorong Tabiat Makan Berlebihan

Rupanya, tabiat suka mengumpul banyak barang ini ada kena-mengena juga dengan diet kita. Kajian telah membuktikan bahawa ia merupakan salah satu punca yang mendorong kita untuk makan berlebihan. Kalau siapa tengok rancangan realiti ‘Hoarders’ di TV, mesti anda perasan orang yang suka kumpul banyak barang ini sememangnya terdiri daripada mereka yang gemuk-gemuk belaka.

Suasana berselerak membuatkan seseorang rasa stres lalu makan berlebihan untuk berasa lebih selesa. Selain itu, ia memacu kecenderungan untuk memakan ‘comfort food’ yang tidak berkhasiat bagi menenangkan diri.

Foto Kredit: hdfootagestock.com

3. Kurang Produktif

Timbunan barang bukan saja membuatkan mata kita sakit, tetapi menyesakkan minda yang cuba untuk bekerja. Bayangkan, kalau tengok inbox email yang beratus-ratus pun buat kita rasa stres, apatah lagi barang-barang di depan mata. Bila makin bertimbun, makin susahlah nak fokus dengan kerja yang ada.

Persekitaran yang tersusun membawa kepada kesihatan mental yang baik. Begitulah kesimpulan yang dapat dibuat daripada kajian yang dijalankan untuk mengenalpasti kaitan stres dengan persekitaran di tempat kerja.

Foto Kredit: smh.com.au

4. Mudah Nyanyuk

Minda yang serabut kerana tidak dapat berhenti menapis maklumat yang tidak berguna di dalam otak. Maklumat ini dinamakan ‘mental clutter’ dari sudut psikologi dan ia adalah salah satu punca utama kepada nyanyuk pada usia tua.

Ia bermula dengan pemikiran yang tidak tenang dan mengakibatkan otak tidak dapat memproses maklumat dengan efisyen. Otak  terpaksa bekerja berlebihan kerana rangsangan lebih daripada persekitaran yang tidak teratur.

Akibatnya, pada permulaan kita akan mengalami ‘short term meory loss’ atau lupa ingatan pada jangka pendek. Jika tidak dicegah, ia boleh melarat hingga membuatkan seseorang mudah hilang fokus dan nyanyuk.

Foto Kredit: indiatoday.com

5. Pengasingan Sosial

Orang yang suka sangat kumpul banyak barang ini bukan saja akan mengalami masalah terhadap diri sendiri, tetapi kesannya juga akan dirasai oleh ahli keluarga.

Apabila terpaksa ‘bersembunyi’ di bawah timbunan barang, ahli keluarga bukan saja akan berasa ‘lemas’ tetapi juga terkesan dari segi emosi. Apa yang lebih serius, keserabutan ini menjadikan seseorang sukar untuk membaca raut wajah insan lain dalam hidup mereka.

Akibatnya, pengamal tabiat ini semakin kurang mengambil berat tentang perasaan ahli keluarga kerana emosi yang kelihatan sama setiap hari. Malah, mereka juga cenderung mengasingkan diri dan semakin obses terhadap barang tersebut hingga tak mahu orang lain menyentuhnya.

Foto Kredit: people.com

Ada Bezanya Antara ‘Hoarding’ Dengan ‘Collecting’

Tak dinafikan sesetengah orang suka mengumpul barang sebagai hobi. Tapi kita haruslah dapat membezakan antara koleksi barang berharga dan sebaliknya.

Menurut Anxiety And Depression Association Of America, perbezaan antara kedua tabiat ini adalah pada susunan dan organisasi ruang, emosi, serta masa yang dapat diperuntukkan untuknya.

Seorang yang benar-benar mengumpul barang antik atau koleksi berharga selalunya akan berasa bangga, mampu mengurus dan mengkategorikan semua barang dengan baik, tersusun, dan mempunyai ruang khas untuk semua barang tersebut. Sebaliknya, mereka yang dianggap ‘hoarder’ ini tidak mampu mencari dan menyusun barang mereka, mengorbankan ruang asas dalam rumah, dan berasa tidak selesa untuk bercakap tentang barang-barangnya.

Jangan terkejut, terdapat penelitian juga yang mendakwa bahawa kebanyakan daripada mereka ini bukannya ‘berjimat’, sebaliknya memiliki masalah kewangan dan banyak berhutang!

Sumber rujukan:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/fulfillment-any-age/201705/5-reasons-clear-the-clutter-out-your-life

https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/obsessive-compulsive-disorder-ocd/hoarding-basics#

https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/hoarding-disorder/what-is-hoarding-disorder

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/hoarding-disorder/

https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/hoarding-disorder/what-is-hoarding-disorder

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/high-octane-women/201203/why-mess-causes-stress-8-reasons-8-remedies

5 Amazing Health Benefits of Chia Seeds (and Creative Recipes!)

5 Amazing Health Benefits of Chia Seeds (and Creative Recipes!)

Chia seeds have been used since ancient times by the Mayan and Aztecs. Aztec warriors ate chia seeds for the energy boost and endurance. On the other hand, Chia means “strength” in the Mayan language. Therefore, Chia seeds were a staple for runners and warriors during battles. Modern research founded that chia seeds benefits for health are even more remarkable than we realized.

Chia seeds not only provide energy but also promote healthy skin, reduce the signs of aging, good for heart and digestion and make your bones and muscles stronger. They are even capable of reversing diabetes.

Chia seeds

Chia seeds are now easily available worldwide so you can use them as a powerful addition to your diet. They are rich in nutrients, loaded with vitamins and minerals as well as proteins and fiber.

You can eat them raw, soaked in juice or add them in porridges, puddings, and baked stuff. You can also add them to make some healthy smoothies, yogurt, and salads. You can also use chia seeds to thicken up sauces as they readily absorb water and fat.

Amazing Health Benefits of Chia Seeds:

Chia seeds benefits and recipes

#1 Loaded with Antioxidants

Chia seeds are loaded with antioxidants that remove free radicals from your body and help fight against aging and cancer. The high antioxidant concentration also increases their shelf life, and they can last almost two years without refrigeration.

A study uncovered that chia seeds have a total antioxidant concentration nearly two times higher than previously reported, and the antioxidant activity was shown to remove up to 70 percent of free radicals.

This means that chia seeds are one of those foods that provide you with a high antioxidant concentration.

Why you need antioxidants?

Antioxidants speed up the skin’s repair systems and prevent further damage, making it healthy and glowing. Consuming chia seeds prevent premature skin aging due to inflammation and free radical damage.

#2 Chia Seeds are Good for Digestion

Chia seeds contain a high amount of fiber, making them incredibly good for bowel regularity and healthy stool. Fiber also makes you feel full sooner as it can absorb a considerable amount of water and expand in the stomach.

Chia seeds after absorbing water create a gelatin-like substance in the stomach that can act as a probiotic that supports the growth of probiotics in the gut, therefore, helping in better digestion.

#3 Weight Loss

Weight loss

Foods that are rich in fiber and protein are ideal for weight loss diets, and chia seeds are one of them.

Fiber reduces inflammation, lowers cholesterol, and regulates bowel functions. Chia seeds are a rich source of fiber. They offer 10 grams of fiber in only two tablespoons, which is one-third of the daily-recommended intake of fiber.

Chia seeds also stand among the top plant-based sources of protein. This is another reason why this seed is amazing for people trying to put on lean muscle, burn fat and balance blood sugar levels.

The unique ability of chia seeds to absorb up to 10 times their weight in water is a result of the fiber content. This prolongs hydration and improves nutrient absorption of electrolytes. Also, it also keeps you satiated longer, thus reducing sugar cravings.

#4 Chia Seeds are Good for Your Heart

Chia seeds can reduce inflammation, regulate cholesterol, and decrease blood pressure, making them extraordinarily beneficial for your heart. Chia seeds also reduce oxidative stress, thereby decreasing the risk of developing atherosclerosis.

Chia seeds also contain large amounts of omega-3 (healthy fats). Omega 3 protects your heart by decreasing blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and inflammation.

#5 Boost Metabolism and Energy

Chia seeds have been known to provide a boost of energy since historical times.

A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning deduced that chia seeds could improve exercise performance in workouts in the same way any regular sports drink would and without all the unhealthy sugar.

By including chia seeds in your diet, you can make a great difference if you are trying to lose weight. Not only they boost your metabolism but can burn belly fat as well. Studies reveal that the addition of chia seeds to your diet can decrease visceral fat or commonly known as “belly fat” tissue that affects the metabolism of the body.

How Much Chia Seeds per Day

Roizen and Mehmet Oz, MD, in their book You Staying Young recommend two daily doses, each consisting of 20 grams (a little less than two tablespoons) of chia seeds. Still, other resources mention that you should not exceed two tablespoons per day. The reason for that is that chia seeds are rich in fibers, which may cause stomach issues if you are not used to eating fiber-rich foods.

Nutrition Facts about Chia Seeds

Benefits-of-Chia-Seeds

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, USDA Branded Food Products Database two tablespoons of chia seeds (about one ounce) contain:

  • 70 Kcal
  • 3 grams of protein
  • 6 grams of fiber
  • No sugar
  • 100 grams of Calcium
  • 32 grams of Iron
  • 2 grams of vitamin C
  • No cholesterol or fatty acids

How to Eat Chia Seeds

  • When soaked in water, chia seeds will form a gel-like, which can make you feel full for a longer duration. You can also use this mixture to thicken foods in some recipes like the pudding, and it can also replace eggs in vegan cooking.
  • As a whole, you can consume these small seeds as a whole by adding some to your morning breakfast; sprinkle some on cereal, yogurt, or oatmeal or add some to your fruit salad for an extra energy booster.
  • Powdered in bread dough, muffins, or cake as it keeps it moist for a longer period.

8 Creative Chia Seeds Recipes

#1 Chia Seed Crackers

Chia seeds crackers

Credit

Crackers could be a perfect snack for kids and adults, too. This crackers recipe contains sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds along with chia seeds.

#2 Chia Seeds Smoothies

Smoothies are a great way to boost your energy and provide your body with antioxidants, adding chia seeds will for sure double the benefits, and makes your smoothie the perfect snack after a workout, they provide your body with protein, minerals, and reduce sugar craving.

There are so many smoothie recipes that you can choose from, tropical smoothie, citrus smoothie, Spanish smoothie, banana smoothie, and many more. You can choose from this dairy-free tropical green chia smoothie by Kristine, detox green smoothie by Ally, or blueberry and chia smoothie by Amy Chaplin.

#3 Chia Seeds and Raspberries Pudding

chia seeds pudding with fruits

This chia seeds pudding by Giada De Laurentiis is easy to make; you will need to mix almond milk, yogurt, maple syrup, the vanilla, and salt. Then cover and refrigerate for overnight.

As chia seeds will absorb the water in the mixer, it will thicken and form a nice pudding by the next day. Add berries, red berries, or strawberries and serve in small bowls or glasses.

#4 Apple Mug Muffin and Chia Seeds

This egg-free muffin recipe uses chia seeds as a replacement for eggs, which makes it vegan-friendly. It also includes apples to add more flavors.

#5 Banana Chia Power Breakfast Bars (Banana Cake)

Chia seeds and banana cake

Credit

This gluten-free banana cake can be a great start in the morning, either has alone or top it with some cream cheese frosting or butter. Alexa uses almond flour and tapioca flour, along with flax seeds and chia seeds, which makes a great fiber source and energy booster for your day.

#6 Greek Yogurt and Chia Seeds

Chia seeds, yogurt and fruits

This easy, still delicious recipe makes the perfect snack.

Mix yogurt and chia seeds, let sit for a few minutes, then add fruits of your choice.

#7 Fruit Salad

Chia seeds fruits salad

Another easy recipe is by slicing fruits of your choice, kiwi, oranges, and bananas are loaded with vitamins and antioxidants, add chia seeds and honey if you wish.

#8 Chicken Nuggets

Chicken nuggets and chia seeds

Credit

Kids love chicken nuggets, yet most chicken nuggets served in restaurants are not healthy. This healthy chicken nuggets recipe is a healthy twist on what you would find in a readymade kid’s meal. Chicken is breaded with chia seeds, ground flaxseed, Parmesan cheese, and herbs. Then bake in the oven.

Chia Seeds Side Effects

As mentioned earlier, you should consume chia seeds in moderation, and it would be better if you start slow, like a teaspoon a day.

If you are allergic to sesame or mustard, you should consult your doctor before taking chia seeds.

About the Author: Lisa Brown has been helping her readers with successful business and entrepreneurial strategies for the past three years. She currently works with Ekuep, which is the first online store in the Middle East that caters to the foodservice industry. It sells kitchen equipment, restaurant equipment, and food service equipment that are made by leading brands from all over the world. These machines and tools are trusted by all restaurant and cafe owners from across the world.

This post was updated by Dima Al Mahsiri

More from my site

Brush Tips from Pro Makeup Artists

Brush Tips from Pro Makeup Artists

We all have that one friend who owns more makeup brushes than you own shoes. It’s always inspiring to see the stunning makeup looks they create with their bristled-beauties, but if you’re wondering what are the five or so brushes that are must-haves, you’re in the right place.

We gave some of our celebrity makeup artist friends a call to see which of our vegan brushes with animal-free bristles are their favorites. We also got them to spill a few brush hacks.

Keep scrolling to read their secrets.

Foundation Brush, Circle\Delete Concealer

The Best Way to Apply Concealer

“To evenly apply a cream concealer, I love using a flat dense brush with medium to short bristles, like a Foundation Brush. Then, I lightly blend the product in with a slightly damp sponge for uniform coverage and a smooth finish.”

–Emily Hache, @emilyhachebeauty

vegan foundation brushFoundation Brush
$41.00

circle\delete #1Circle\Delete Concealer
$32.00

Handi Brush, PurePressed Base

How to Apply Mineral Powder Foundation

“A long-bristled, flat top brush like The Handi Brush is best for pressed powder mineral foundations. Tap off excess and gently sweep in straight lines down the face, building as needed. Avoid buffing minerals into the skin, which can actually cause the finish to look muddy!”

–Jamie Greenberg, @jamiemakeup

handi brushThe Handi Brush
$45.00

cocoa purepressed basePurePressed Base Mineral Foundation
$42.00

Kabuki Brush, Liquid Minerals

How to Blend Liquid Foundation

“My favorite brush to use with Liquid Minerals is the Kabuki Brush – It blends effortlessly. Once I have the desired coverage, I wipe off any excess foundation left on the brush and use it to [blend the foundation into] the skin, using circular motions to create a flawless finish.”

–Paige Padgett, @paigepadget

kabuki brushKabuki Brush
$38.00

suntan liquid mineralsLiquid Minerals
$52.00

Dome Brush, In Touch Cream Blush

Get the Perfect Rosy Glow

“For a natural rosy glow that appears to come from within, I like to use InTouch Cream Blush. Using a Dome Brush, swipe the end of the brush back and forth over the cream product. Apply in circular motions over the apples of your cheeks. The bristles of a Dome Brush are perfect for creating a diffused look, doing all the blending work for you.”

–Katie Mellinger, @ktmell

dome brushDome Brush
$42.00

charisma in touch cream blushIn Touch Cream Blush
$28.00

AngleLiner Brush, Mystikol Powdered Eyeliner

The Right Brush for Graphic Eyeliner

“I’ve been asked to do lots of graphic liner looks from my clients lately, and an Angle Liner/Brow Brush is perfect to achieve those 45 degree angle, sharp wings. Not to mention, I can also double it as an eyebrow brush.”

–Min Min Ma, @minminmadotcom

angle liner/brow brushAngle Liner/Brow Brush
$17.00

onyx mystikol powdered eyelinerMystikol Powdered Eyeliner
$24.00

Blending/Contour Brush, White Fan Brush, GreatShape Contour Kit

Best Brushes for a Natural Contour

“For an effortless contour, less is more. Always start by applying a small amount of your darker shade with an angled brush, like the Blending / Contouring Brush, and blend well. Then, use a Fan Brush to diffuse your highlight shade for soft, glowy cheeks.”

–Azra Red, @azraredmakeup

warm greatshape contour kitGreatShape Contour Kit
$49.00

Began Blending/Contour BrushBlending/Contour Brush
$41.00

white-fan-brushWhite Fan Brush
$18.00


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The deadly flu epidemic sweeping the US is still spreading — here’s everything you need to know

The deadly flu epidemic sweeping the US is still spreading — here’s everything you need to know

Flu experts agree that the 2017-18 flu season may not be a full-blown pandemic, but it sure is nasty.

The flu is widespread across 48 US states right now. Scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say doctors have been seeing as many patients as they did at the height of the 2009 H1N1 flu pandemic.

The epidemic this season is not at pandemic levels, but it has been especially tough on baby boomers. CDC officials say that could be in part because they weren’t exposed to this year’s most aggressive H3N2 strain as children.

It’s nearly impossible to predict how this flu season will end, as flu viruses don’t follow predictable models from year to year.

Still, there are a few simple things to do to stay healthy and safe. Here’s what you need to know.


It’s been a season of horror stories about the deadly flu. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention called this the worst season since the 2009 swine flu.

source
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Eighty-four children across the country have died from the flu this year, and experts think the real number could be double the total in official reports.

In California, at least 185 people under the age of 65 have died. As of early January, most of those deaths were unvaccinated adults, the state’s Department of Health told Business Insider.


Flu shots are less effective this year than they’ve been in the past, but the vaccine can still help.

It’s true that the flu vaccine is not as effective this year, largely because it doesn’t protect as well against the H3N2 strain, which is everywhere. A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released Thursday said the vaccine is about 36% effective this year, and only 25% effective at combatting H3N2.

It’s still a good idea to get vaccinated if you haven’t, though, because the shot is more effective at preventing other strains of the virus, such as the influenza B strains. In addition to lowering the likelihood that you’ll contract the flu, the vaccine can reduce the intensity of your illness if you do catch it. Flu season can last into May, so if you haven’t gotten your dose yet, it’s not too late.

A 2017 study found that a flu shot could significantly reduce a child’s likelihood of dying from the virus.

Pregnant women are especially encouraged to get flu shots because they’re more likely to be hit hard by the virus. And there’s some evidence that if a pregnant mom gets the shot, that can protect babies in their first months of life, when they’re too young to get the vaccine.


It’s been deadly, but this season is not a pandemic.

source
Loren Kerns on Flickr

Flu viruses can shift rapidly, making them harder to vaccinate against and tough to predict from year to year. That’s part of the reason drug makers have struggled to come up with a “universal” vaccine for the flu that would protect you for life.

What counts as an “epidemic” changes a little from season to season – and even week to week – but the CDC’s latest numbers indicate we’ve reached epidemic levels, meaning the flu is spreading quickly and leading to more fatal cases than usually expected. In the final week of January, 10% of all deaths across the country were attributed to flu and pneumonia, well above that week’s epidemic threshold of 7.3%.


Though flu levels are still high in 48 states, the CDC’s flu chief, Dan Jernigan, says there are signs it has already peaked in some spots.

source
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Experts say that what’s been especially unusual about this 2017-2018 season is that the flu is hitting everyone at the same time.

“We often see different parts of the country light up at different times, but for the past three weeks, the entire country has been experiencing lots of flu all at the same time,” Jernigan told reporters in late January.


Pandemic flu happens “when a new flu virus emerges that can infect people and spread globally,” quickly, and efficiently, the CDC said.

source
National Museum of Health and Medicine

The flu reaches epidemic levels (like we’re experiencing now) at some point every season. But pandemic flu levels are even more dangerous.

Long before the 2009 swine flu pandemic, the deadly 1918 Spanish flu spread around the world, infecting about one in every five people and killing as many as 50 million. That’s more casualties than in World War I.


This year is proving to be a tough one for some baby boomers.

People from 50 to 64 years old have the second-highest hospitalization rate in the US after elderly people. They’re sicker than kids up to age 4 this year, which experts say is unusual.

Coming down with the flu can also increase your risk of heart attack sixfold, a new study found, because it puts more stress on your system and can increase inflammation. Plus, “when you get an infection, your heart is beating faster,” Jeffrey Kwong, the study’s lead author, told Reuters.

For older adults, there’s the more potent higher-dose Fluzone vaccine, as well as Fluad and Flublok, which also pack an extra punch.

As many as 56,000 people die from the flu every year in the US, the CDC reports, many of them older with compromised immune systems.


People with the flu can be contagious the day before they start showing signs — meaning they don’t even know they’re spreading the virus around.

Scientists say influenza can incubate in the body for one to four days before a person shows any signs of getting sick. That means you can be contagious and not know it, as the CDC points out. And some people can spread the virus around without showing any symptoms at all.


Stay 6 feet away from people with the flu.

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REUTERS

Person-to-person transmission – from talking, coughing, sneezing, or even just breathing on someone else – is more likely to cause an infection than simply touching a surface with some flu virus on it and then reaching for your nose or your mouth.

Dr. Patricia Salber says the flu virus can persist on hard surfaces for up to 24 hours but survives only about 15 minutes on tissues.


Everyone’s “viral load” is a little different, but you tend to spread germs the most in the first two or three days of the illness.

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Spencer Platt/Getty Images

It’s important to wash your hands and avoid touching your face too much this season to fight the spread of the germs.

New research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences this month found that the flu could spread among people who are just breathing.

Jovan Pantelic, one of the researchers behind the study, said some people could “exhale or cough high quantities of live virus particles – up to 1,000 in 30 minutes.”

“When we consider that an infectious dose is just one virus particle, this means that potentially 1,000 people can be infected in short order,” he said in a statement.


Cold snaps could be to blame for more flu, too.

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A woman bundles up amid cold temperature in New York.
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Thomson Reuters

A team of researchers from the National Institutes of Health tracked decades of flu epidemics and found that the upticks lined up almost universally with drops in air humidity.

But boosting the humidity in your home isn’t a cure-all.

While the flu bug may thrive better in cold, dry air, “there are other pathogens, such as pathogenic mold, that thrive at higher humidity,” Jeffrey Shaman, the study’s lead author, told the BBC.


Most people who get the flu don’t need to see a doctor. If the illness is diagnosed in the first 48 hours, prescription drugs can help make it shorter and milder.

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Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Many people coming down with the flu can stay home and wait it out with the help of liquids, over-the-counter drugs, and a heavy dose of sleep.

But when prescribed quickly, drugs like Tamiflu can help shorten the illness. There have been some isolated shortages reported at pharmacies in cities like San Francisco, New York, and Atlanta, so it’s best to call ahead.


If you do get sick, there’s one simple way to know whether it’s safe to head back into the world.

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Zetar Infinity/Shutterstock

Experts say you can head back to work or school when you’ve been fever-free for a full 24 hours.

Typically, people have the flu for about a week, but some people can stay sick with the illness for up to two weeks, and kids can often be contagious for more than seven days with symptoms like fever, chills, congestion, fatigue, cough, and general misery.


Even dogs aren’t immune to this year’s flu.

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Rafi Letzter/Tech Insider

The canine flu can’t spread to humans, but it can leap from dog to dog pretty easily.

Some pet owners vaccinate their pooches with a flu shot, but many vets say it’s better to monitor your dog for signs of sickness, as the illness isn’t usually deadly and is not widespread in the US.

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