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9. What can I do to prevent the flu? continued...

To help protect yourself and prevent spread of cold and flu viruses:

  • Wash hands frequently. Use an alcohol-based gel if you don't have access to water.
  • Cough and sneeze into a tissue or inside the bend of your elbow if you don't have a tissue. Wash your hands afterward.
  • When you cough, turn your head away from others.
  • Don't touch your eyes, nose, or mouth. This prevents germs from entering your body.
  • Wash and disinfect any shared surfaces (like phones and keyboards) frequently. Viruses can live on surfaces for up to 8 hours.
  • Stay away from crowds during cold and flu season.
  • Get a flu vaccine every year. Vaccines don't give you 100% protection from the flu, but they're the best way to help prevent it.
  • Eat healthy foods to nourish your immune system, such as dark green, red, and yellow vegetables and fruits.
  • Get regular exercise. People who exercise may still catch a virus, but they often have less severe symptoms and may recover more quickly.

Also, regular exercise -- aerobics and walking -- may boost the immune system. People who exercise regularly tend to get fewer colds. They may also recover more quickly than people who do not exercise regularly. Check with your doctor before beginning a new exercise program.

 

10. If I have allergies, am I more likely to get the flu?

No, allergies don't affect susceptibility to the flu. But people with asthma are more likely to have complications, such as pneumonia, when they do get the flu. Also at risk of complications are infants under age 6 months, pregnant women, people with suppressed immune systems, people with diabetes, people with lung disease, people with neurologic disease, people with heart disease, and the elderly.