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

Encore: 'Future Shock' 40 Years Later

Future Shock by Alvin Toffler was a huge sensation when it was published in 1970. The book perfectly captured the angst of that time and prepared society for more changes to come.
NPR

In Prison, The Passion That Drove A Yogurt-Maker To Arson Still Burns

The yogurt entrepreneur who set fire to his factory remains in prison, but he's in better spirits now. "He's dreaming again," says his wife.
NPR

Prohibition-Era Gang Violence Prompted Congress To Act On Gun Control

In the 1930s, the United States government was absorbed with a different kind of gun violence: prohibition-era gangsters using fully automatic weapons of war, with civilians often caught in the crossfire. NPR looks back at how the U.S. Congress, at the urging of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, passed the nation's first firearms legislation, which still holds today.
NPR

'Future Shock' Author Alvin Toffler Dies at 87

Toffler's warnings about 'information overload' and the accelerating pace of change in modern society made his seminal 1970 book a best-seller in the U.S. and around the world.

Leave a Comment

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