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How to stay healthy during flu season

The arrival of fall brings a lot of great things like pumpkin spice, apple picking, football games and bright-colored leaves. Unfortunately, some of the bad also comes creeping in with the colder weather. Aka flu season. From stuffy noses to sneezing to coughing to just generally feeling awful, having a cold or the flu is the last thing a busy girl needs. 

We all know preventing a cold or the flu in the first place is way easier than dealing with the symptoms. But before you go guzzling orange juice, did you know Vitamin C doesn't actually help prevent sickness? We were shocked, too. Luckily for you, we've compiled a list of hacks you can use to stay healthy all season long.  

1. Get vaccinated.
This one's obvious. If you don't want the flu, get your flu shot! Sure, it isn't fun, but it sure beats having the flu.  

2. Forget Vitamin C, it's all about Vitamin D3.
You've heard your mom/grandma/dad/friend/school nurse tell you that cold prevention is all about Vitamin C, but studies have shown that Vitamin D actually plays a much more important role in helping your body fend off infection.

To naturally give your body a boost of D3, eat foods like egg yolks, cheese and fatty fish, like salmon. Getting about 20-30 minutes of sun when you can can also help raise your body's Vitamin D3 levels.

3. Spice up your life with ginger and garlic.
We all knew garlic was good for fending off vampires, but did you know garlic is also great for boosting your immune system? It is a strong antibacterial and antiviral, so it can help you ward off a range of sicknesses. Add some garlic to veggies or soups.

Ginger is another powerful addition for flavor and for your immune system. Ginger can help fend off rhinovirus, the virus behind many common colds. Get your ginger in by adding it to chicken noodle soup or even through a warm cup of ginger tea. It's delicious and will help keep you healthy.

4. Invest in a bottle of hand sanitizer.
Let's face it: not everybody at school is gonna be as prepared as you for flu season, so chances are, you'll be around some sick people. To avoid contaminating yourself, try carrying a bottle of hand sanitizer with you to eliminate germs after you come into contact with somebody who is feeling a little under the weather. They even make small bottles of hand sanitizer that clip to your backpack. Try to wash your hands before you touch your face or eat all season long, but if you aren't near a bathroom, hand sanitizer will be a game-changing solution. 

5. Sweat it out.
There's really no substitute for a healthy lifestyle. Staying well is all about getting your vitamins and minerals in through a balanced diet. Going to the gym 3 times a week can help boost your immune system, help you sleep better and improve your circulation, which are all great for keeping you healthy all season long. Even if it's only a thirty minute walk you take with your dog, getting active a few times a week can make all the difference.

6. Don't stress.
Easier said than done. But stressing out is proven to be bad for you: You might breakout, feel bad or even come down with a cold. Tips to avoid stress? Plan ahead, get work done early and remember that some things are out of your control. Give yourself a break, girl, and be kind to yourself. Don't sweat the small stuff. Remember, your health is more important than any one assignment.

7. Try chicken soup for the soul.
Usually you only reach for that bowl of chicken noodle after you've come down with something, but research shows that chicken soup can actually help ward off germs in your upper respiratory tract. How cool is that? The ultimate cold-fighter: chicken soup with a little bit of ginger. Trust us, it's so good, and you will feel great. 

8. Sleep, sleep, sleep!
Girls these days have busy schedules between class, extracurriculars, homework and the fun stuff, but getting an thirty minutes of sleep a night can help you stay healthy and refreshed. Did you know you should be getting 8 hours (or more) of sleep a night? To sleep a little better, try letting go of your phone thirty minutes prior to bedtime. As fun as exploring Insta can be after a long day, studies show that you'll fall asleep faster if you put the phone/computer/iPad down. 

9. Hydrate all day.
Drinking water is one of the simplest ways to reduce your risk of infection. To get your recommended 8 glasses a day, invest in a super cute water bottle that keeps your water cold like these. You'll be excited to show off your cute new accessory in class, and having the water bottle on your desk will remind you to keep drinking it.  

10. Supplement as needed.
Getting in all your vitamins and minerals can be tricky, so if you feel like you're not getting what you need from your diet, add a daily vitamin in to give you the peace of mind you need. Gummy vitamins? Totally for kids, teens and adults alike. Check out these gummies, which are specifically made for teen girls! Take what tastes good, and you'll look forward to that vitamin everyday.  

What helps you stay healthy during flu season? Share your tips in the comments below! 

We want to hear from you! Send us your weirdest body questions here (seriously, we'll answer anything!) and it just might get featured.

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by Linda Horn | 12/3/2018