Knoxville (WVLT) - Most medical research suggests the single best way to protect yourself from the flu is to get a flu shot.
But some years, you can't get a shot because of a shortage.
And some people should never get one for medical reasons.
In Part 2 of our special series The Flu and You, Volunteer TV's Jessa Goddard has five was you can outsmart the flu.
The flu virus brings days of misery to adults and children, alike.
It can even be life-threatening.
Each year about 36,000 Americans die from flu complications.
The flu is a respiratory disease that spreads in tiny droplets of mucus in the air.
It could come from a sneeze in the elevator or a cough in the next cubicle.
You can't avoid flu germs, but there are some things you can do to outsmart the virus.
Doctors say you should wash your hands..
"Washing your hands is a great way to help with the flu. The flu is airborne, though, too, so not only do we get it from things, but we can get it from the air, too," said Dr. Michael Green, Internal Medicine.
The next way to outsmart the flu, avoid crowds.
The flu virus thrives on socializing so try to cover your face if someone sneezes near you.
Try to cover your face if someone sneezes near you.
In addition, try things like shopping online rather than at the mall during the peak of flu season.
The third way to outsmart the flu, keep hydrated.
Membranes in your nose and throat trap viruses and move them back out in the form of mucus.
You should drink lots of fluids to keep your membranes in fighting shape.
"Our body has natural ways to prevent infection. One of which is our mucus membranes. So, if you're keeping hydrated, one, your body's going to function a little better all over," said Dr. Green.
Our fourth way to outsmart the flu is to take vitamins.
Vitamin C may not fight off colds, but many experts still recommend it for keeping you healthy during flu season.
Some say Vitamin D and Selenium may guard against the flu, as well.
The fifth way to outsmart the flu is to get adequate sleep.
"Boy, a good night's sleep is magical. I mean it helps you mentally, physically, spiritually. I mean, when you get a good night's sleep, your body is much more ready to take on whatever comes next," said Dr. Green.
Most adults need seven to eight hours a night for the best amount of sleep.
These five tips are a good idea whether you get a flu shot or not, but especially for the two-thirds of us who won't get one this year.
To watch the rest of the stories in our The Flu and You series, click the links below.
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