How to prevent the flu

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As a family doctor on the frontlines, Dr. Sharon

Domb does this all day long. The biggest thing that I do

is handwashing and that transfers over from work to home.

Even if you washed your hands five minutes ago,

Dr. Domb says do it again before you touch your face or

eat anything. So you're touching a lot of other surfaces that

could be contiminated in the meantime. That includes eating out.

Wash your hands after handling the menu, a surface that is often ripe with germs.

Dr. Domb says some organisms can live on surfaces

for days. Her next tip? Get the flu shot early.

It's an inactivated or dead vaccine and you can't get sick from it.

So I really encourage people to get the flu shot. Remember that it will take about two

weeks for the flu shot to take full effect. Tip three?

Keep your immune system strong. Eating a well balanced diet, making sure you're getting

the four food groups, getting enough sleep, exercising

regularly, none of that is going to hurt, it's all going to help in terms of

your immune system and ability to fight things. So what about taking lots of

vitamin C? Unless you have dietary restrictions,

the only supplement Dr. Domb recommends for most people is vitamin D.

Aim for one thousand international units per day throughout the

fall and winter months. If you do

get the flu, she says to stay home to avoid spreading it.

If you've got a fever and malaise and tired and just generally

stuffed up and cough, most of that will resolve usually in

seven to ten days. Very young or old patients, those with other

health conditions, or people experiencing localized symptoms

like in their ear or lungs may need to seek medical help.

And of course, don't forget the chicken soup. While Dr. Domb says there's no

compelling evidence it will fight or prevent the flu, it sure can

help you feel better. With Sunnyview, I'm Monica Matys.