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10 Tips to Prevent the Flu

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Flu shot or not, you can take practical measures to help avoid the flu. Here are some tips.

Whether or not you choose to get a flu shot, many experts stress that simple, commonsense measures are the best way to prevent most strains of the flu. Here are some basics to consider embracing:

  1. Avoid close contact with sick people whenever possible.
  2. When you are ill, stay home from work, school, and errands in consideration for others. Urge your friends, family, and coworkers to do the same.
  3. During flu season, wash your hands frequently to protect yourself and others from germs.
  4. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
  5. Keep your hands away from your face. Germs routinely spread when a person touches something contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.
  6. Stick to a nutrient-dense, toxin-free diet, and avoid foods that tend to weaken the immune system, such as sugar, refined grains, industrial vegetable oils, and processed and refined foods.
  7. Support your immune system by getting plenty of sleep and avoiding chronic stress. Constant anxiety at work or in your relationships suppresses the immune system, opening the door to flu.
  8. Get plenty of sunshine and supplemental vitamin D. High levels of vitamin D have long been linked to lower rates of flu.
  9. Get at least 20 minutes of exercise a day to prime the immune system.
  10. Avoid antibiotics and antibacterial cleansers and sanitizers whenever you can. They can weaken your natural defenses and entice your “immunity muscles” to atrophy. By steering clear of chemical antibacterial agents as much as practical, you’ll encourage your body’s immune system to get smarter and harder-working over time. As a result, it will stand a better chance of effectively vanquishing infections and diseases of all kinds, including influenza.

This originally appeared in “The Debate About Flu Shots” in the October 2012 issue of Experience Life magazine.

is executive editor of Discover magazine and the author of Cure Unknown: Inside the Lyme Epidemic.

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