6 Ways to Foil the Flu
A FLU SHOT is not your only defense against the flu. Try these gentler flu-fighting strategies:
1. GET STRONG. A healthy body and rested mind are your first defense. Reduce your stress, get eight hours of sleep, and exercise regularly.
2. WASH UP. Because the flu virus spreads by hand contact, you should scrub your hands vigorously with hot water for 15 seconds (including the backs of your hands and between your fingers) after visiting public places.
3. KEEP YOUR DISTANCE. You might want to take more than a polite step back when talking to someone who you know is sick: A study found that flu germs can be transmitted from as far away as 6 feet. The farther away you are, the lower the chance you’ll pick up the bug, says Werner Bischoff, M.D., Ph.D., an epidemiologist at the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C., and lead author of the study.
4. KEEP HYDRATED. Enclosed areas like offices have notoriously low humidity, which dries the protective mucous membranes in your nose. To re-establish the moisture that traps and disposes of viruses, mist your nostrils with an over-the-counter saltwater nasal spray. Also be sure to drink six 8-ounce glasses of water daily.
5. FORTIFY YOURSELF. Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis) has proteins that prevent viruses from entering cells; take 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon of the extract twice a day throughout winter.
6. TRY HOMEOPATHY: Designed to work like a vaccine, the homeopathic preparation Dolivaxil contains minute amounts of the flu viruses expected to be prevalent during the coming season; this stimulates the immune system to mount a defense against them. Dolivaxil is taken under the tongue once a week for four weeks; a fifth dose follows four weeks later. And the homeopathic remedy Oscillococcinum can stop the illness in its early stages (follow package directions).