cold or fluChances are great that this year that either you or someone you know has had the flu. This season, the flu is making headlines as potentially the worst since 2014, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Emergency rooms are being flooded with patients and school closures are prominent. Experts say that this flu season could extend into late April with four different strains of the influenza virus spreading from person to person. What this means is that even if you have already been infected, you are not immune from falling ill up to three more times in this season alone!

Regardless of whether you have already been sick or not, there are measures you can take to fend off colds and flu.

Make sure that for the next couple months, you’re being especially diligent with your hand washes. Lather up and rinse your hands in hot water after every trip to the bathroom and before preparing and eating food.

Common items, such as your cell phone, keyboard, keys, door handles, etc., can be points of contact with the virus, so make sure to regularly disinfect these items especially if you frequently touch your face. Your nose, mouth, and eyes are all entry points for germs into the body, so avoid unnecessarily touching public fixtures, like railings or elevator buttons.

If you can avoid surrounding yourself with crowd, you can dramatically cut down your chances of getting sick. The flu is highly contagious from infected persons and can be transmitted through coughing and sneezing.

Getting inadequate sleep can reduce T cell count, which are the immune cells that fight off germs and viruses. Not getting enough sleep will reduce your recovery time, so make sure you’re getting enough z’s at night!

Regular exercise is also important for maintaining a healthy immune system by promoting better circulation. Better circulation allows for disease-fighting agents to move more efficiently through your body.cold & flu season

Eating well and loading up on nutrient-dense foods can help boost your immune system. Eat foods rich in vitamin C and D and probiotics, which will boost good bacteria counts.

Limit alcohol consumption, which hampers your white blood cells’ ability to destroy bacteria, and instead drink lots of water for hydration.

Destress! Read a book, meditate, or take a hot bath for quiet time. Studies show that stress on the mind and body accounts for 90-percent of all illnesses and diseases by compromising the immune response. Research has also shown that people with strong social networks are also more resistant to infection.