The shortage of flu vaccine does not mean that Valley residents have nowhere to turn to try to prevent the illness.
Scottsdale doctors and nutrition experts said there are many ways to naturally boost immunity and prevent colds and flu.
"We’re telling people, ‘Open the fridge instead of the medicine cabinet this flu season, because there are foods that can help prevent and help treat the flu,’ " said Michelle Gorman, a dietitian for Albertsons grocery stores.
Foods high in vitamins A and C contain antioxidants that boost the immune system, Gorman said. Vitamin Apacked foods include orange and green produce items — carrots, squash, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, spinach, broccoli and dark, leafy vegetables. Vitamin C-rich foods include tomatoes, broccoli, potatoes and peppers.
"Antioxidants help attack the foreign substances in our body," she said. "They help our body heal and build up our immune system."
Beef, eggs and liver contain zinc, chicken and tuna contain selenium, and beef and fortified cereal contain iron — all of which help prevent illness.
Dr. Kimberly Fodran of Scottsdale Healthcare said good health care practices include washing hands, avoiding those who are sick and staying home when you are ill.
"Regular exercise has been shown to boost the immune system, and things like proper diet and getting adequate amounts of sleep (also help)," Fodran said.
Beginning today, Scottsdale-based health retailer Hi-Health will offer 30-tablet bottles of Immune Nutrient Formula free at its 51 locations Valleywide, said Hi-Health director of education Rosanna Thill.