The arrival of cooler weather comes with one serious drawback — the start of cold and flu season.

According to the CDC, influenza is most likely spread through droplets made when sick people cough, sneeze or talk. The virus can be transmitted to others who are up to six feet away.

Many folks choose to get flu shots to decrease their chances of contracting the flu. But if you don’t want to receive the vaccine, CheatSheet has six easy and natural ways to strengthen your immune system ahead of flu season.

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1. Eat your veggies

Vegetables (and fruits, for that matter) are loaded with vitamins and other nutrients that keep you healthy. Leafy greens, citrus fruits, and foods that are rich in beta-carotene, such as pumpkins and sweet potatoes, are some of the best things you can eat during flu season.

2. Say no to sugar

Put down the cookie — sugary foods can suppress your immune system and increase your chances of getting sick.

RELATED: They’re marketed as healthy, but these 10 foods have staggering amounts of deadly sugar

3. Wash your hands

It’s so simple. To prevent the spread of germs, wash your hands before preparing food and after using the bathroom; carry hand sanitizer for those times when there isn’t a sink nearby; and try not to touch your face when your hands aren’t clean.

4. Work out

Exercise stimulates your immune system, so don’t be afraid to work up a sweat during cold season. And don’t feel pressured into hitting the gym if you hate¬†going there; taking a walk is a great way to increase your heart rate without too much exertion.

If you don’t have a workout routine and want to form one,¬†start here.

5. Unwind

According to CheatSheet, stress prevents your body from producing cytokins, the molecules responsible for fighting diseases. So go ahead and take a little break every once in a while. You’ll be a lot more productive¬†and you hopefully won’t have to take any sick days!

6. Sleep

It’s always important to get enough zzzs, but it’s especially crucial during flu season. Rest helps your body produce T-cells, which are responsible for protecting against germs and diseases.

(H/T: CheatSheet)

6 ways to avoid catching the flu (without getting a flu shot) Flickr / Conrad Bakker
Beth Sawicki About the author:
Beth Sawicki is a content editor at Rare. Email her at
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