You’ve probably heard the sniffles and hacking and seen the dark circles beneath tired eyes.

You’ve probably heard the murmurings around you in the café at the meeting table, really anywhere there are people. There is something wicked working its way through Whitehorse.

It comes in the dark of night and knocks you out for weeks of fevers and chills and endless coughing and phlegm. It would seem that everybody is getting this particularly contagious and nasty strain of flu.

Whether you are lucky enough to have gone this long without it, if you’re starting to feel the tickle in your throat, or if you’re in the throes of it, there are easy things you can do to bolster your immune system and help it out.

Step away from the sugar

Seriously, put it down, throw it in the garbage, whatever treat you have in your hand – get away from it. We have a number of nifty types of white blood cells that do everything from fight bacteria to kill parasites. One kind called phagocytes is particularly good at destroying bacteria and other pathogens – an essential function when trying to stay flu-free. Sugar paralyzes these little guys for up to five hours greatly hindering their ability to do their job.

Stay active

The lymphatic system plays a key role in the immune system. It’s a system of organs and tissues and nodes that moves white blood cell-rich lymph fluid throughout the body. Unlike our circulatory system, which has a pumping heart on its side, the lymphatic system is constantly fighting an uphill battle to circulate. Proper circulation of lymph is dependent on muscle contraction and movement. Staying active – especially with jumping rope and rebounding – helps keep the lymph flowing.

Get your wet socks on

When all else fails and you are fighting congestion and chills with the rest of them, there is one trick you can try. I will warn you that it will sound terrible and uncomfortable, but the effects are well worth the efforts. Right before bed, take a pair of your thinnest cotton summer socks and submerge them in ice cold water – seriously, the colder the better. Ring them out so that they are damp but not wet. Put them in the freezer for a flash chill if they have warmed up at all. Put them on your feet with a pair of dry wool socks over top, and go straight to bed. Get ready for a great sleep and refreshing morning congestion free.

Hire Your Herbal Helpers This Flu Season

When you need an extra boost, there are herbs and foods you can turn to for help.

Ginger is warming for those with chills or loose phlegm. It also acts wonderfully to keep nausea at bay if you are finding your flu is settling in your stomach.

Oregano oil while not the tastiest of treats definitely packs a powerful germ-fighting punch. Take a few drops under your tongue every couple of hours and especially after encountering a particularly germy kid, friend, or coworker.

Raw honey can help keep coughing at bay in a delicious way. Have a spoonful alone or with some chopped garlic.