If the flu hasn't hit your house this winter yet, consider yourself warned: We're only halfway through the already bad season, and experts predict that it will just get worse. Already this winter 29 children have died and more than 5,000 people were sick enough to be hospitalized.
Influenza season varies from year to year, and the U.S. has had two mild seasons in a row, leaving experts surprised when the virus started hitting early this year, MSNBC reports. No need to panic, though. By using these simple tips, you can do a lot to lower your risk of winding up in bed eating chicken noodle soup.
1. Be a clean machine. If you share an apartment with multiple people, one of you is bound to get sick at some point. Stock up on vitamin C and tissues, and try to give all light switches, door knobs, and other things that you touch frequently a quick wipe with Clorox wipes for a zero-hassle way to keep shared surfaces clean and germ-free.
2. Stay informed. Some misconceptions about the flu just won't die. For example, the flu shot cannot give you the virus, but people still believe it does. Check out this list of flu-related myths from Huffington Post Healthy Living to keep yourself as educated and up-to-date about the vaccine and other flu-related news this season.
3. Up your intake of essential vitamins and minerals. The editors at Fit Sugar rounded up the best and worst natural ways to prevent influenza. Start stocking up on nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids and zinc to fortify your immune system all winter long.
4. Let your smartphone help you. Greatist pulled together 11 iPhone apps from the CDC, ZocDoc, WebMD, and more resources to help arm you in your flu fight. With a little luck, you'll be able to catch the flu early or maybe prevent it entirely!