Get an annual flu vaccination.
The best time to be vaccinated is October or November. This allows your body time to develop antibodies to the flu virus before peak flu season, which is typically December through March. However, getting a flu shot later in the season may still protect you. It takes up to two weeks to build immunity following a flu shot.
Wash your hands.
Thorough and frequent hand-washing is the best way to prevent many common infections. Scrub your hands vigorously for at least 30 seconds, rinse well and turn off the faucet with a paper towel. Or use an alcohol-based hand gel containing at least 60 percent alcohol.
Eat right, sleep tight.
A poor diet and poor sleep both lower your immunity and make you more vulnerable to infections. A balanced diet that emphasizes fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and small amounts of lean protein works best for most people. On the other hand, the amount of sleep needed for a healthy immune system varies from person to person. In general, adults seem to do best on seven to eight hours of sleep a night. Older children and teens need more rest – between nine and 10 hours every night.
Regular cardiovascular exercise – walking, biking, aerobics – boosts your immune system. exercise won’t prevent infection, but if you do come down with the flu, you may have less-severe symptoms and recover more quickly than do people who aren’t as fit.
Avoid crowds during flu season.
Flu spreads easily wherever people congregate – in childcare centers, schools, office buildings, auditoriums and public transportation. By avoiding crowds whenever possible during peak flu season, you reduce your chances of infection.
Source: Adapted from Mayo Clinic