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10 Ways to Avoid Becoming Sick this Winter

The start of winter usually brings with it a bout of sickness. What is it about the change of the seasons that give many of us the sniffles and an aggravating cough? While the contagious nature of most sickness plays a big role, some of what causes our seasonal illnesses can be prevented.

1. Wash hands often

Most germs are spread by our own dirty and germ-laden hands. If you’ve touched an infected object, such as a doorknob or computer keyboard, wash your hands with soap and warm water for about 30 seconds. It goes without saying to always wash hands after using the restroom or shaking hands, and certainly before eating.

2. Use hand sanitizer

A hand sanitizer works well when we’re unable to get to a restroom or sink to wash our hands. Keep a bottle handy at all times, particularly at work and in your vehicle.

3. Hands off the face

Germs move and transfer quickly, so avoid touching your face—especially your nose and mouth—if you’ve touched a communal object or a dirty area. When it comes to your face, be careful with your cell phone as well. Cell phones are actually some of the dirtiest personal items we have; regularly wipe your mobile phone clean with a sanitizer.

4. Dress appropriately

Wintertime calls for pants, tights, sweaters and boots. And don’t forget your coat. If you’re hot-natured, try dressing in layers; that way you can peel off or put on as needed. Cover your head and ears with a hat or ear muffs and be sure to keep your hands warm by wearing gloves.

5. Eat healthy and drink lots of water

There’s no better time to enjoy some comfort foods than during the cold-weather months, but do so in moderation. In the meantime, indulge in lean protein and lots of fruits and vegetables. And don’t forget the water; shoot to drink at least eight glasses each day.

6. Take your daily vitamin

If you don’t already take a daily vitamin, start. It’s never too late. If you’re unsure about what kind to take, consult your physician or your local pharmacist. They also may suggest you get a flu shot or take additional supplements.

7. Get plenty of rest and exercise

Our immune systems weaken when we haven’t gotten enough sleep. Aim to get seven to eight hours of shut-eye each night. This will ensure you’re feeling up for regular exercise, too—a 30-minute walk each day will do the trick of you’re not game to join a gym.

8. Take advantage of hands-free equipment when possible

If your school or workplace has restrooms and other facilities that are equipped with hands-free devices, like faucets and hand dryers, use them. The less you touch in a restroom or other communal area, the better chance you have of escaping germ free.

9. Avoid others who are sick

Make an effort to keep your distance from sick people, especially if your immune system is weak, your pregnant or elderly. Those who are sick will understand why you’re avoiding them. Never share a glass or bottle with anyone, either—and especially with someone who is sick.

10. If you become sick, stay at home in bed

If you do become sick this winter, stay in bed, get plenty of rest and keep hydrated with water and juices high in vitamin C. This will keep you from getting sicker and prevent those who attend school or work with from becoming sick.

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