NPR : News

Filed Under:

Phooey On Flu

A lot of you have had it by now, or are having it or are about to be exposed. This year's flu is called "H3N2" and this week it's doing big business in about 47 states, Chicago and New York. If you've had a flu shot and if you wash your hands several times a day for 20 seconds, (which is the time it takes to hum "Happy Birthday to You" two times through) you might reduce your odds of getting sick.

But your biggest ally is your immune system. It's hard, during flu season, to avoid inhaling a virus or two (or three, or 10,000), but that doesn't mean they're going to take you over. You have an army of defenders in you, ready to take them on.

Here's what the battle looks like, deep down in your cells. This is the happy version — when you win.

The last time I posted this video, I added this caveat, which I want to add again: Your immune system includes mucus and other body fluids that trap the viruses and destroy them; You cough and sneeze a lot, which hurls them back out into the air where they usually die. Plus lots of viruses are dweebs. They don't work that well. Some don't have the right "keys" to invade healthy cells so they can't spread the infection. That is why most of the time, after a struggle (when you get a fever and need to lie down), your immune system rebounds, and, in time, so do you.

Copyright 2013 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Was It Good, Bad, Or Ugly? Takes On Larry Wilmore's Jokes At Correspondents' Dinner

Some say the "Nightly Show" host utterly bombed his routine at Saturday's White House Correspondents Dinner. Others say he simply had a different crowd in mind.
NPR

At Food World 'Oscars,' Category Sneakily Redefines All-American Cuisine

Most James Beard awards go to haute cuisine, but one prize recognizes classic neighborhood joints. And increasingly, the winners are immigrants whose cultures haven't yet dissolved in the melting pot.
NPR

Do The Words 'Race Riot' Belong On A Historic Marker In Memphis?

On May 1, 1866, Memphis was home to a massacre that killed 46 African-Americans and injured many others. Now a historical marker shows an ongoing rift between white historians and black activists.
NPR

Left Behind In The Mobile Revolution, Intel Struggles To Innovate

As PC sales fall, the Silicon Valley giant is struggling to remake itself to keep up with cloud computing and mobile. Intel recently announced the layoff of 11 percent of its workforce.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.