Every year, many Americans get the flu. And the numbers reported by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control have been rising over the years (280,000 in 2015-2016; 497,000 in 2016-2017; and 810,000 in 2017-2018). But, you don’t need to be a part of these growing trends. Using a combination of healthy lifestyle habits, dietary changes and healthy supplements, you can take steps today to minimize your flu risks and avoid the flu this coming season.

Who Is Most at Risk (And When?)

Many people don’t realize that the flu virus is very active all year long.

However, in the United States, cases really start rising in the fall and winter, with peak flu activity typically in December, January and February.

Anyone can catch the flu, but there are a few specific demographics for whom the flu poses the greatest risk due to potential side effects and complications:

  • Older adults, specifically those ages 65 and older
  • People with pre-existing, chronic health conditions (e.g. asthma, heart disease, diabetes, etc.) 
  • Very young children ages 5 and under 
  • Pregnant women
  • People with very high body mass indexes (BMI)

Whether you fit those high-risk demographics or not, there are a few specific things you can do right now to avoid the flu as we get closer and closer to the start of flu season.

5 Ways to Reduce Your Risks and Avoid the Flu

1. Eat Your Fruits and Vegetables

Green leafy vegetables contain antioxidants and nutrients that support an efficient immune system.

Diet is a tried and true immune-booster.

Green leafy vegetables contain antioxidants and nutrients that support an efficient immune system.

And colorful fruits contain antioxidants like vitamin C that help your body to naturally fight off the influenza virus.

The more, the better. The old adage of eating “five a day” is the bare minimum. Great ways to sneak more healthy fruits and vegetables into your diet include:

  • Making morning smoothies
  • Changing your mindset to seeing salad as a main dish and not just a side dish
  • Adding sauteed veggies to meals like omelettes and sandwiches, or adding veggies to your favorite soups and stews

2. Run Away From the Flu

Working out raises your body temperature, which might also help to fight flu infections.

Run, literally. 

Regular exercise helps your body to circulate its white blood cells more efficiently, warding off the flu and other infections.

The U.S. National Library of Medicine reports that exercise also flushes the flu virus out of your lungs, which may reduce your risks of contracting the flu if you’re exposed to a sick person.

The library also points out that working out raises your body temperature, which might also help to fight flu infections.

3. Sleep It Off

Hit the sack if you want to hit back at influenza and avoid the flu.

In a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, healthy adults were purposefully exposed to active viruses. Then, their sleep habits were tracked. Those who slept at least eight hours a night over the study’s 14-day research period had a greater resistance to viral infections.

If you have a hard time getting enough sleep, practice good sleep habits:

  • Keep your room dark and cool
  • Avoid watching TV, working, etc. in your bedroom
  • Avoid the blue light from smartphones and other devices, which disrupt your body’s natural sleep cycle
  • Consider natural supplements that may improve sleep quality, such as melatonin, valerian root, or chamomile tea

4. Look After Your Mental Health

We know that chronic stress can lower your immune system‘s ability to protect your body from infections as well as make you more susceptible to a whole host of diseases. Feelings of anxiety, depression and loneliness can also bring about similar reactions in the body as stress.

Practicing mindfulness, connecting with friends and family as well as getting out in to the open air to clear your head are all great ways to keep you feeling positive.

Whatever your favorite ways of naturally boosting your mood are, be sure to fit them in regularly and notice if you or loved-ones need a top-up.

5. Try Echinacea

The influenza viruses that cause both human flu and bird flu have been shown to be “very sensitive to a standardized Echinacea purpurea preparation.”

Echinacea supplements “possess potent antiviral activities, at non-cytotoxic concentrations, particularly against membrane-containing viruses,” reports a study published in the journal Pharmaceuticals

Specifically, the influenza viruses that cause both human flu and bird flu have been shown to be “very sensitive to a standardized Echinacea purpurea preparation,” notes the researchers.

Echinacea supplements are available in many forms, from tinctures to pills, to help you avoid the flu.

Finally, no system in your body operates in a vacuum. This especially includes your immune system. There are many factors that affect your immunity, including thymic proteins. These proteins help your immune system respond to threats. BioProPlus-500 includes five bioidentical thymic proteins to support your immunity and also includes the micronutrient zinc that helps to support full-body wellness and increase your odds of avoiding the flu.

Interested in More on How to Avoid the Flu? Keep Reading:

Cold and Flu Season: Preparing Your Immune System

How the Flu Virus Impacts Your Immune System