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      Immune system key factor in avoiding the flu

      Getting a flu shot is a top recommendation by medical professionals to protect you against Influenza, commonly known as the flu.

      Influenza, a respiratory illness, can result in symptoms such as a fever, body aches, fatigue and chills. However, Dr. Scott Doughtey says it's also about having a good immune system.

      "I don't like people to rely too heavily on the golden ticket which, this time of year, is thought to be the flu shot. It's fine if you want to get it, but if you don't, there are other things you can do to strengthen your immune system," said Dr. Doughtey, Marquette General Family Medicine.

      Doughtey says stay well hydrated by drinking plenty of water and consume nutritious foods, fruits and vegetables. You can also include garlic and ginger in your meals, which have antiviral effects, cutting out refined sugar from your diet, and get enough sleep.

      "The days are shortening and we might be feeling more tired; some of that could be related to the fact that our body's asking for more rest. I think the immune system is stronger if the body is well rested," Dr. Doughtey said.

      Doctors also suggest taking vitamin C and D as it supports your immune system. Having good hygiene is also key in avoiding and spreading the flu. So sneeze into your elbow and wash your hands thoroughly with soap before you eat and when you use the restroom.

      If you do get catch the flu, keep the germs contained by keeping commonly used areas disinfected and properly throw away tissues.

      "Stay home from school, stay home from work; you should stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone. For some people, it may be recommended that they get an antiviral drug for influenza as well, especially people who are at high risk," said Jean Reynolds, Immunizations Representative with Marquette County Health Department.