The winter is time for skiing and outdoor fun, not getting the flu. Here’s how to avoid it.
: Consult your physician before taking any over-the-counter vitamins or medication and before getting a flu shot.
Step 1: Get flu shot Get a flu shot in October, November, or December. Local pharmacies, schools, and hospitals—and maybe even your school or workplace—will announce when they’re offering them each season.
TIP: Check online to determine when the flu is at its peak in your area.
Step 2: Take multivitamin Take a multivitamin daily, especially one high in vitamin C.
Step 3: Eat balanced diet Eat a balanced diet with lots of vegetables—getting too few or too many calories can place extra strain on your immune system.
Step 4: Exercise daily Exercise daily, especially throughout the winter. Raising your body temperature actually helps to clean your blood, killing off nasty stuff lurking there.
Step 5: Wash hands often Wash your hands often. If there’s a sink nearby, scrubbing with plain old soap and water is just as good or better than antibacterial gels.
TIP: Wash even more frequently before, during, and after you prepare food; before you eat; after you use the restroom; after handling animals; and when the people around you, like classmates, co-workers or family members, are sick.
Step 6: Clean counters & surfaces Clean counters and surfaces often—especially those that come in contact with hands or faces often, like phones or remote controls.
Step 7: Turn away from sneezes If someone near you sneezes, turn away to avoid the blast in case they don’t do so into a tissue or the crook or their arm.
Step 8: Beware of little kids Beware of little kids! Schools are breeding grounds for sickness, and kids are unwitting petri dishes.
Step 9: Avoid touching sick people Avoid shaking hands and other kinds of close contact with those who are—or might be—sick.
TIP: Keep your hands away from your own face as much as possible, or you risk passing whatever you’ve picked up on your fingers into your eyes, nose, or mouth.
Step 10: Drink water every day Drink lots of water every day.
Step 11: Eat garlic Eat garlic. Studies show it can actually kill off the flu virus, and suggest it might also help bolster your immune sytem.
Step 12: Get plenty of rest Get plenty of rest. Stress increases the amount of the hormone cortisol in your body, which can interfere with the white blood cells that fight off infections.
Step 13: Stay in bed If you manage to get sick, do yourself and everyone else a favor: stay in bed. There’s no need to cause other people misery.
FACT: The flu is a virus, which means antibiotics won’t do a thing to help—time is the best medicine.