The Flu Is Horrible This Year. Here’s the Only Industry That’s Happy About It

The Flu Is Horrible This Year. Here’s the Only Industry That’s Happy About It.The last time anyone got this excited about orange juice was probably at the end of the movie, Trading Places.

Americans don’t drink anywhere near as much O.J. as they used to.

The blame falls largely on the fact that while it was once viewed as an incredibly healthy drink, people now focus on its alarmingly high sugar content.

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So most of us would rather drink something else–unless, that is, we’re afraid of getting sick. And that’s exactly what is happening now.

Americans are crazy-thirsty for Vitamin C right now because this year’s flu virus is so especially resilient and potent. As some of us grew up hearing constantly, orange juice is a good supply of Vitamin C, and that in turn it can ward off disease.

Result: During the four weeks that ended Jan. 20, Americans drank .9 percent more orange juice than they did in the similar period in 2017. That number that seems less than impressive until you consider two factors:

First, it amounts to 38.66 million gallons consumed, which is basically one pint for every single man, woman, and child in the United States.

Second, it’s the first time in five years that orange juice consumption has gone up.

We should point out that the science on drinking orange juice to fight the flu is dubious. According to the National Institutes of Health, it’s not at all clear that an organic infusion of “C” can do anything to stave off the flu.

“Some studies show the vitamin can slightly reduce the length and severity of a cold,” according to the Wall Street Journal, which first reported this trend Friday, citing sales data from Nielsen. But it only works “if it is consumed every day and not just when symptoms begin.”

Cold, flu, what’s the difference? (You won’t be asking that if you’ve actually had the flu.)

But it doesn’t stop people who swear by it, especially an entire population of people in their 30s and older, who grew up being told that they should drink orange juice at the first sign of sickness.

Consider Matthew Williams, 35, of Lawrence, Kansas, whose wife told the WSJ that “every time he feels like he is about to get sick, he gets a gallon of cheap orange juice and drinks the whole thing. None of us have had any symptoms of illness.”

This isn’t the first time health fears have stopped the otherwise downward slide of orange juice consumption, by the way.

In 2009, fears of swine flu sparked an uptick, according to the WSJ.

And now, I suppose perhaps O.J. is becoming sort of the “chicken soup of the 21st century,” meaning that there’s there’s no proof it can really stop the flu, but except for the sugar content, how can it hurt?

My advice, worth what you paid for it: Cut it with water, 50 percent. And get plenty of rest.

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