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Alternative flu treatments recommended

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LOS ANGELES, Nov 03, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- U.S. health experts said common health and diet measures can improve your chances of avoiding the flu this season.

Experts at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center suggested that by regularly washing hands, drinking plenty of fluids, eating a balanced diet and increasing intake of vitamin C and antioxidants, healthy people stand a better chance of preventing the flu.

The flu statistics can be devastating, they said. Between 5 percent and 20 percent of the U.S. population gets the flu each year, with more than 200,000 hospitalized and an average of 36,000 dead.

Experts said flu vaccination and wellness programs could save companies up to $12 billion annually, but the current flu shot shortage could affect as many as 50 million people.

Employers concerned about loss of productivity and absenteeism, and the public in general, are turning to other preventative measures to combat the flu this season, such as increasing antioxidants in the diet.

"Key antioxidants are one of the most powerful ways to build up your immune system," said healthcare expert Dr. James Rouse. "By building your stores of antioxidants and vitamin C, you can help fight off cold and flu."

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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