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Healthy note: A flu-free winter

Northampton held a free flu and tetanus shot clinic for municipal employees and retirees Thursday in the Puchalski Building.
JOSH KUCKENS

Northampton held a free flu and tetanus shot clinic for municipal employees and retirees Thursday in the Puchalski Building. JOSH KUCKENS

A flu-free winter

Ah, January, the time when you pack away the holiday lights, put away the presents. And get ready for the flu season.

Flu activity usually peaks in the U.S. in January or February. According to this week’s FluView report posted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, influenza activity is on the rise for the season in the U.S., with 29 states experiencing high levels of influenza-like illness.

What can you do to prevent the flu? Practice good hygiene including washing your hands frequently, including before you touch your face or eat.

If you have not been vaccinated against the flu, you should do so now. If you have severe influenza illness, or are at risk for influenza illness-related complications, you should get the influenza antiviral medications (regardless of whether you’ve had the flu vaccine).

Eat well, exercise daily, and consider some holistic interventions to boost your immunity before or during a flu or upper-respiratory infection.

Here are our top holistic immunity-boosting tips for the flu season:

Decrease your intake of processed carbohydrates and sugary foods. Even small amounts of sugar can suppress the immune system and make you more likely to get an infection, or more sick when you have one.

The herbs Echinacea angustifolia and Echinacea purpurea are for prevention and long-term immune support; Androgrophis paniculata is used in acute viral or bacterial infections; Ashwgandha can help the body respond to stress and ward off illness; fresh ginger steeped in hot water can be a natural immune booster, and garlic — raw, cooked or in supplements — can boost immunity and has been shown to reduce cough and congestion.

— THE SACRAMENTO BEE

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