14 Ways to Avoid Colds and Flu

avoid-flu
Feeling under the weather? Getting more sleep can help.
(ISTOCKPHOTO)
Are you avoiding your co-worker with that hacking cough, cold, or flu in the cubicle next to you? Do you draw your hand back from every doorknob? Have cold-and-flu phobia? Get a grip before the grippe gets you. Weve consulted dozens of medical experts to bring you 14 ways to avoid colds and flu this season.

Every time you shake someones hand, wash yours
But dont stop there. Wash them as much as possible, says Mark Mengel, MD, chair of community and family medicine at Saint Louis University School of Medicine. Running lots of water over your hands will dilute any germs and send them down the drain.

Keep your hands off
Touching your nose and your eyes may hurt you, Mengel says. Those are the most common places for germs to get in.

Go to bed
As if getting enough sleep on a normal basis isnt hard enough, you need more zs when youre feeling under the weather. When youre tired, your body isnt fighting as hard, so Mengel suggests getting 8 to 10 hours a night.

Get your shot
Last years flu-shot shortages are, well, last years shortages, says Jeff Robertson, MD, and chief medical officer for health insurer Regence. Finding flu shots should be easier this year, but you should get one early.

Build up with healthy food
You may think its hard to eat healthy on a regular basis, but eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables supports your immune system, Robertson says. And thats a lot easier than fighting off the flu.

Work out
Get those sweats on and exercise, says Ann G. Kulze, MD, CEO and founder of Dr. Ann and Just Wellness. Working out regularly enhances immune function, she explains.

Stay away
Keep your distance from people displaying symptoms like sneezing and coughing. While that strategy may seem obvious, it applies to more than just strangers and colleagues. Stay away from sick friends and family when possible, Robertson says.

Next Page: Sanitize yourself

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