Chicken Noodle Soup: One Flu Metric We've Never Thought Of

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As we've reported extensively this week, the latest government and epidemiological data shows that this year's flu is the worst in years. When measured in hospitalizations, doctors' visits, missed school and work and even, sadly, deaths, the 2013 influenza virus has been virulent indeed.

But now, thanks to the popular food delivery site, Seamless, we have the most fun (if not the most scientifically sound) measure of all: The Chicken Noodle Soup Index. The website reports that orders for chicken noodle soup have been 35 percent higher this January than they were in January 2012. What's more, matzo ball soup orders have spiked 37 percent, Gatorade orders are up 10 percent and orange juice orders are up 19 percent this January when compared to last.

According to GrubHub, another food delivery service, the last week of December and first week of January saw at 10-15 percent spike in all soup orders. The soupiest (read: sickest) city? Atlanta, with a 20 to 30 percent rise in soup orders. Boston, meanwhile, isn't ordering more soup than normal.

So are these Internet-ordering, flu-sufferers on the right track? Actually, yes. Chicken Noodle Soup is hydrating and full of nutrients that might be hard to stomach in more solid form, like protein and electrolytes. But the temperature may also help: one study at the Common Cold Centre in the U.K. found that drinking a hot liquid (like broth) alleviated congestion better than the same liquid at room temperature.

Fever and intestinal illness -- two common flu discomforts -- can cause dehydration, so Gatorade is a great choice for rehydrating and rebalancing electrolytes, especially for kids.

Have you tried any of these foods as a remedy? What's your go-to food when you're under the weather? Tell us in the comments.

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