Protect yourself from germs at work

By Jodi Mohrmann - Managing Editor of special projects
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The University of Arizona has found that when someone is sick in an office, it takes only four hours for surfaces like copy-machine buttons and coffee pot handles to show traces of infectious virus.  There is no cure for colds and the flu , so prevention should be your goal.

While the most effective way to prevent the flu is to get the flu shot, there are other things you can do that can help.

First, eat foods that have phytochemicals. "Phyto-" means plants, and the natural chemicals in plants give the vitamins in food a supercharged boost. Try eating dark green and yellow veggies and fruits.

But don't forget your protein. Research shows diets that are too low in protein can deplete the immune system. So incorporate foods like eggs or yogurt.

Also, exercise! An Appalachian State University study found that people who exercise five or more days a week spend 43 percent fewer days with upper-respiratory infections!  But gyms are crawling with germs, so make sure you wipe down the equipment before and after you work out.

Another helpful tip: try a daily nasal rinse with a bulb syringe. It helps to flush out viruses and helps clear secretions. You can buy nasal saline at the drugstore or you can make your own.

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