If you want to avoid the flu, doctors say avoid these bad habits

SEATTLE -- Flu season is bad this year, there have already been a number of flu-related deaths around Western Washington as the state has seen a spike in cases.

Doctors with American Family Care have come up with five habits that could increase your chances of getting sick.

Working Out Too Much

  • It’s January and people are packing the gym after packing on the pounds over the holidays. Doctors say that while exercise is good for us, you may be over-exerting yourself and not drinking enough water. It could weaken your immune system, leaving you vulnerable to infection.

Going Low Carb

  • Whole grains might be the garlic to your weight loss vampire, but during flu season, they may be exactly what your body needs. Rice, oats and buckwheat can help you build healthy bacteria to fight the flu. Research by the American Physiological Society concluded a substance found in fruit and vegetables called quercetin reduced the likelihood of flu in mice.      

Doing It All

  • If you feel yourself getting sick, stay home from work or school. You should avoid exposing others to the flu. Doctors also recommend that if you have a fever, once it’s gone, stay home at least another 24 hours to stop the change of spreading the disease.

Puffing on the Vape Pen

  • Smoking is already a health risk, and a study found the vapors from e-cigarettes can trigger substantial inflammation in your lungs, making them more vulnerable to bacteria and viruses.

Stressing Out

  • And finally, a new year could mean new, stressful challenges. A study by Carnegie Mellon University found long-term stress could weaken someone's ability to fight infection.    

The physicians also gave their 5 habits to help you prevent the flu:

  1. Avoid Sharing Pens
  2. Use your Knuckle, not Your Finger at the ATM or Card Readers Inside Stores
  3. Protect Yourself at the Pump by Using a Paper Towel to Pick Up the Nozzle
  4. After Shaking Someone’s Hands, Wash or Sanitize Your Hands Immediately
  5. Wipe Down Shared Workspaces