flu2According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), every year about 20 percent of the population gets the flu and more than 200,000 people are hospitalized from seasonal flu-related complications.

Because flu seasons are unpredictable, you could make yourself crazy trying to prevent the inevitable.  Here are six simple tips for flu prevention to help you get started:

1. Exercise to boost your immune system. According to WebMD, moderate exercise, such as brisk walking, for 45 minutes a day, five days a week can promote health and reduce the risk of the viruses by 30 percent.  In one study, women who walked for 12 months had the most resistance in the final quarter of the year.

2. Eat right and get plenty of rest. Eating vegetables and fruits full of antioxidants and getting at least seven hours of sleep a night can help keep you healthy.

3. Use natural disinfectant products when cleaning your home.  Maid Brigade’s “Green Cleaning  Guide” offers recipes for cleaning products you can easily make at home. Using microfiber cleaning cloths in each room of the house instead of sponges.  Sponges are a major source of germs. Separate microfiber cloths further prevent spreading germs from one room of the home into another.

4. Practice flu prevention at work. When possible, hold meetings in areas with good ventilation. Keep ample space between you and people who are sick, or, who sneeze or cough openly. Clean computer keyboards regularly and properly disinfect highly used common area surfaces such as conference and break room tables.

5. Teach your children proper hygiene etiquette. Be sure they know to cough into their elbow and to use a tissue when they sneeze. Get them in the habit of hand washing as early as possible. A special tip from Rachel Orscheln, MD, a pediatrician at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, is to teach children to sing their favorite song every time they wash their hands. This way they will spend a solid amount of time with the soap.

6. Uncover surprising places where germs are lurking. Many surfaces and objects that we come in contact with every day are prime spots for harboring flu germs, but what about those “hidden areas” where germs may be lurking? Pay special attention to coffee makers, cutting boards, pillows, toothbrushes, bath mats, contact lens cases, pillows, and laundry baskets.