By: Michaela Anthony, RN at Nashua Center for Internal Medicine

Flu season is upon us. Avoiding the flu requires taking preventive measures to reduce your risk of getting infected. While some methods are well-known (we highly recommend a flu shot), there are also some surprising ways to help avoid the flu. Here are our top 10 lesser-known tips to avoid getting the flu this season.

1. Stay Hydrated: Proper hydration helps maintain the mucous membranes in your respiratory tract, which act as a defense against viruses like the flu.

2. Humidify Your Home: Using a humidifier can help keep the air moist, which can reduce the transmission of flu viruses as they thrive in dry environments.

3. Maintain Good Oral Hygiene: Regularly brush your teeth and clean your tongue. Good oral hygiene can help prevent the introduction of flu viruses through your mouth.

4. Get Adequate Sleep: A lack of sleep can weaken your immune system, making you more susceptible to infections, including the flu.

5. Practice Yoga or Meditation: Stress can weaken your immune system. Activities like yoga and meditation can help reduce stress levels, making you less susceptible to illnesses.

6. Laugh More: Laughter has been shown to boost the production of antibodies and activate immune cells, which can help fend off infections.

7. Eat Probiotic Foods: Probiotics can help support your gut health, which is closely linked to your immune system. Yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi are good sources of probiotics.

8. Limit Sugar Intake: High sugar consumption can suppress the immune system. Reducing your sugar intake can help strengthen your body’s defenses against the flu.

9. Exercise Regularly: Exercise improves blood circulation and helps immune cells move through the body more effectively. It also reduces stress, which can weaken your immune response.

10. Opt for Contactless Payments: Using digital payment methods or contactless cards reduces your exposure to germs on cash or card machines.

It’s essential to prepare yourself with a variety of tools to fend off the flu. While getting a flu shot is a well-established practice, these additional methods, which are often overlooked, will help to strengthen your defenses against the flu.