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NOT BORN YESTERDAY: Fending off flu season with simple precautions

By LINDA BROWN, Not Born Yesterday

It’s difficult to keep up on the news or even have a normal conversation without someone mentioning the flu epidemic battering the eastern states.

If you got a flu shot this year, good for you. If you procrastinated until there wasn’t any vaccine left in Franklin County, or for personal reasons simply chose not to get the shot, there are a few simple things you can do to help boost your immune system.

Luanne Freund, director at Vintage Park Assisted Living, 2250 S Elm St., said it’s always a good idea to consult with your doctor before making any health decisions, but these immunity boosters are fairly simple.

“Be sure you drink enough water,” Freund said. “It can be a challenge when it’s cold outside, but you must stay hydrated, and the best way to do that is to drink plenty of water.”

Water keeps your energy level up and helps boost your immunity.

“Get plenty of rest,” Freund said. “When your body is tired, it can’t fight off infection.”

Certain foods also help keep your immune system strong. One of those foods is garlic, which has antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties that help stop infections from taking hold and spreading.

More than any other vitamin, Vitamin D is a major factor in preventing disease and maintaining good bone strength. Sunlight is the best source of Vitamin D, but can be a little scarce some winter days. Another good source is salmon and tuna. It’s also available through vitamin supplements.

And, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, Freund said: “You need to exercise. It’s part of the foundation of a good, strong immune system.”

Linda Brown is marketing director for The Ottawa Herald. Email her at

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