Influencing Influenza

Each year 5%-10% of the US population will get the flu — and more than 200,000 will be hospitalized due to complications. But you can battle and beat the bug by arming yourself with these easy, proven tactics:

Scrub up. Your best defense is to wash your hands often and well. It may sound like a given but, according to an American Society for Microbiology survey, just 82% of Americans wash their hands after using the bathroom and only 38% wash their hands after sneezing. Keeping your palms and digits clean can greatly reduce viral attacks.

Take a shot. It is your best protection against certain strains, especially if you’re high risk for serious complications. Ask your doctor if a shot in the arm or nasal spray is right for you.

Eat right. Foods such as garlic, yogurt, sauerkraut, broccoli, apples, spinach, red onions, and blueberries help build your immune system and ward off illness-causing invaders.

Turn up the heat. Try sitting in a sauna once a week. An Austrian study found that participants who breathed in the hot air developed half as many colds as those who didn’t.

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