New research suggests those enviable friends who just never seems to get flu could be immune to the virus
Often wonder why some people never seem to get sick? New research reveals that the flu virus may not infect a lucky few because their genes keep them from developing the symptoms.
Researcher Alfred Hero, from the University of Michigan and a team from Duke University inoculated 17 people with a particular strain of flu and drew blood samples from the volunteers every six to eight hours. After five and a half days, nine people came down with the illness, but tests showed all 17 were infected with flu.
Mr Hero explained: 'The symptom free volunteers showed activity in genes performing antioxidant and anti-inflammatory functions, but their bodies acute inflammatory responses were not active. Meanwhile blood samples from the sick volunteers showed different, or even opposite, gene activity.'
The team believe that the discovery could lead to earlier detection of flu since sufferers developed a genetic signature signalling inflammation 36 hours before the worst symptoms set on, enabling people to take preventative measures to decrease the impact of the illness.
Aside from the genetic discovery, the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) recommend remaining active and exercising to stave off the worst of the symptoms by increasing circulation and thereby white blood cells that fight infection, as well as plenty of sleep and drinking plenty of fluids.
According to Wired, simply getting older can make your immune system stronger against certain strains of flu as older people have been exposed to - and vaccinated against - many past flu strains.
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