Along with fall comes the seasonal flu. It’s inevitable. People at high risk of catching the flu should protect themselves first and foremost with a flu shot. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has great information on steps you can take to prevent a flu infection. It includes the basics like washing your hands and avoiding people who exhibit flu-like symptoms. But I’m going to focus on an area that is often overlooked – your immune system.
The job of your immune system is to protect your body from bacterial and viral infections, such as the ones that cause the common cold and seasonal flu. The immune system protects you in three different ways:
- It creates a barrier that prevents bacteria and viruses from entering your body (your skin).
- If a bacteria or virus does enter the body, the immune system tries to detect and eliminate it before it can make itself at home and reproduce.
- If the virus or bacteria is able to reproduce and start causing problems, your immune system is in charge of eliminating it.
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