It's been all over the news - flu season hit and it hit hard. All over the country, hospitals are swamped with people combating the flu, and although it's too early to tell if flu numbers will go above the seasonal average, NPR is already reporting widespread flu in over 40 states - flu doesn't usually blanket the country like this until late January or February.
What can you do to fight the flu this season?
Doctors everywhere say the most important thing you can do to prevent catching the flu is wash your hands as often as possible! While you can try and avoid those who are sick, you probably won't succeed at avoiding those with cold or flu symptoms 100% of the time. Lather up with warm water and soap any time you get the chance - scrub your palms, between your fingers, and the backs of your hands for at least 20 seconds. The Centers for Disease Control recommend using a hand sanitizer that's at least 60% alcohol if you're caught in a bind and can't wash your hands.
ABC News also recommends tasting the rainbow - lots of bright, colorful fruits and veggies, that is -
Immune-boosting antioxidants in brightly colored fruits and veggies battle the free radicals that dampen your natural defenses, says Josh Miller, D.O., an internist at the Cleveland Clinic. Eat plenty of fare such as red beans and berries (the brighter the hue, the higher the antioxidant count) and drink green tea.
Finally, increase exercise and decrease cocktails. Findings continue to indicate that exercise strengthens the immune system, enabling it to fight viral and bacterial infections. Drinks, on the other hand, can inhibit your white blood cells from combating viruses up to 24 hours after you overindulge.
Click here for more tips on how to fight the flu.