Flu Epidemic Sparks Surge in Orange Juice Sales

CDC weekly flu report map for early Feb. 2018

Do you feel like, no matter where you go, everyone is sick? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s latest map of flu activity in the U.S., you’re not imaging things. According to retail reports, many are turning to orange juice for a remedy.

The dangerous flu virus sweeping across the U.S. this winter season has certainly been taking its toll. Almost every state is reporting widespread activity. While folks have been flocking to the doctor and minute clinics for vaccinations and Tamiflu prescriptions, others have been fighting it out and girding with myriad over-the-counter cold and flu products, hand sanitizer by the gallon, plus an old standby — orange juice.

According to recent reports, retailers witnessed orange juice sales spike nearly 1% in the four weeks that ended on January 20. The figure might not appear very overwhelming, but it does signal the first noteworthy jump in orange juice sales activity and consumption in five years.


The fact sales are soaring during one of the worst flu outbreaks in recent memory shows many still value the nutritional benefits of orange juice. Per WebMD, a popular online consumer source of health-related information, orange juice — especially with the pulp — is “packed with vitamin C and folic acid, which give your immune system a boost and help you feel better faster.”

CDC Flu hospitalization data comparison graph

The number of flu-related hospitalizations is spiking earlier than in recent years.
Graphic courtesy of CDC

In addition to important vitamin content, flavonoids found in citrus also are key to fighting off infections. “Flavonoids include about 4,000 compounds that are responsible for the colors of fruits and flowers,” states WebMD. “Research shows that flavonoids found in the soft white skin of citrus fruits — like grapefruit, oranges, lemons, and limes — really rev up your immune system.”

WebMD goes on to cite other food-sourced, infection-fighting nutrients like glutathione. “You’ll find this powerful antioxidant in the red, pulpy area of a watermelon near the rind. It’s also in kale, collard greens, broccoli, and cabbage.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that flu activity normally peaks between December and February, and can last as late as May. Given the severity of this season’s flu strain, it might be awhile before we’re out of the woods. Until then, here’s to your health.