When “Dancing With The Stars” favorite Karina Smirnoff learned she and many of her fellow performers tested positive for the flu two years ago, she realized the importance of sharing tips for beating the bug.

Sharing space

The steps her castmates took off the ballroom floor proved effective, thanks to advice she continues to offer.

“On the show, we're all training in the same facility in the same building,” says the Ukrainian-born Smirnoff. “When someone gets slightly sick or catches the flu, it starts to go around. One person gets it and then a second person gets it until it's all full circle. We can't get rid of it.”

"'One of the simplest things to stay healthy and strong is getting a good night's sleep.'"

Preparation matters

“We have a lot of disinfectant, because we want to stop spreading the germs,” Smirnoff points out, explaining that it takes three to five days for the flu to strike if a dancer isn't wearing a surgical mask. In addition to getting a Vitamin B12 injection and using hand sanitizers, Smirnoff loads up on citrus to help prevent catching the virus.

“If people around me are fighting the flu, I will cut open a lime or a lemon, because it's an incredible source of Vitamin C. It's a great boost to your immune system.”

Smirnoff, who along with J.R. Martinez nabbed the mirror ball trophy during the program's thirteenth season, believes the herbal supplement Echinacea can help fight the flu, along with a eucalyptus vapor rub. “I'm half Russian and half Greek, so both cultures are very into natural holistic remedies.”

Shots vs. sheets

Because there are multiple strains, Smirnoff debates the effectiveness of an annual flu vaccine. She does, however, recommend going to bed early to protect yourself from influenza.

“One of the simplest things to stay healthy and strong is getting a good night's sleep. Your body is a lot stronger if you give yourself an opportunity to rest and recoup.”