updated 10/11/2004 3:51:44 PM ET 2004-10-11T19:51:44

Despite the vaccine shortage, doctors say there are many other ways to ward off flu -- and most of it sounds pretty familiar.

  1. Don't miss these Health stories
    1. Splash News
      More women opting for preventive mastectomy - but should they be?

      Rates of women who are opting for preventive mastectomies, such as Angeline Jolie, have increased by an estimated 50 percent in recent years, experts say. But many doctors are puzzled because the operation doesn't carry a 100 percent guarantee, it's major surgery -- and women have other options, from a once-a-day pill to careful monitoring.

    2. Larry Page's damaged vocal cords: Treatment comes with trade-offs
    3. Report questioning salt guidelines riles heart experts
    4. CDC: 2012 was deadliest year for West Nile in US
    5. What stresses moms most? Themselves, survey says

—Wash your hands.

—Eat your vegetables.

—And go to bed early.

Doctors and nutritionists say careful hygiene, a balanced diet and plenty of rest and fluids can go a long way toward keeping people healthy during the influenza season -- especially considering the expected vaccine shortage.

Frequent hand-washing is crucial -- using soap and hot water and rubbing roughly for about half a minute. One expert recommends hand sanitizers when soap and water aren’t available, but says anti-bacterial soaps offer little help.

But -- despite the conventional wisdom -- don’t cover your mouth with your hand when coughing or sneezing. That just means germs can get left on doorknobs and computer keyboards. If there’s no tissue handy, today’s doctors urge people -- especially children -- to sneeze into their sleeve.

And one more thing. Besides getting enough sleep, doctors are telling people to keep stress levels low, which keeps their immune systems strong.

© 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Discussion comments


Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments