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This Is Exactly When You're More Likely to Catch the Flu

New research shows that flu outbreaks first appear after the first cold spell of winter, and once it takes hold, the flu season continues even after it warms up. While rhinoviruses, which cause the common cold, don’t seem affected by cold, other viruses such as respiratory synctytial and coronavirus follow flu’s cold-weather trigger, Health.com reports.

With flu cases on the rise, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is warning that this year’s flu season may be worse than last. And, as usual, the CDC’s solution is to urge everyone age 6 months and older to get a flu shot. And of course, if the shot doesn’t work — which it notoriously does NOT — the backup plan is to take the antivirals Tamiflu or Relenza.

I’ve done countless articles on the failings of the flu shot and the antivirals, including the fact that research suggests getting an annual flu shot may be ill advised for long-term health. Recent studies show that, with each successive annual flu vaccination, the protection afforded by the vaccine appears to diminish. It may also increase your risk of contracting more serious influenza infections.

You can fight flu and other respiratory infections by optimizing your vitamin D levels — in fact, one double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized study (the “gold standard” of studies) showed that taking 1,200 IUs of vitamin D3 a day was nearly twice as effective as a flu shot. Avoiding sugar and processed foods, getting plenty of rest, addressing your stress, engaging in regular exercise, taking an animal-based omega-3 such as that found in krill oil and washing your hands are also helpful.